This past weekend we went to the city of Ise to visit Ise Jingu (the Ise Grand Shrine), which is arguably the most sacred Shinto shrine in Japan, because it is said to contain a sacred mirror - one of three sacred items given to the first emperor by the gods. The grounds of Naiku (the Inner Shrine) were really lovely, but it was extremely crowded everywhere we went. I apparently still have not learned the lesson that it is better to avoid traveling during Japanese holidays unless you are a fan of massive crowds and seemingly never-ending traffic jams.
This was the line to get up to the main buildings of the Inner Shrine, but since it is such an important and holy site, visitors are not allowed inside. So all of these people are waiting to get up to the gate to pay their respects and pray. You really can't see much more than the roofs of the main buildings from the gate, they are mostly hidden behind tall wooden fences. Despite the crowds, we did manage to do a little shopping. We picked up the two organic beers (on the right) on a little winding shopping street that led to and from the Ise Grand Shrine.
From there we headed to Biyagura, one of Ise Kadoya Microbrewery's restaurants, where we had dinner and then stocked up on a few additional beers to take back with us (the other five on the left). We were lucky to meet the owner,