Since ancient times, the Japanese people have lived in accordance with nature. All over Japan, there are consecrated rocks and evergreen trees in which kami (powerful beings) reside, as well as sanctuaries (generally called jinja) in which kami are enshrined and which usually consist of a building surrounded by a grove of trees. According to shinto (literally "the way of the kami"), the indigenous religion of Japan, kami are worshiped in matsuri which include solemn ceremonial occasions as well as festivals at the local level. There are more than 100,000 Shinto sanctuaries in Japan, which are at the center of spiritual life. Historically, Jingu has held the most honored place among all Shinto sanctuaries. It is considered to be the spiritual home of the Japanese people, most of whom wish to make a pilgrimage to Jingu at least once during their lifetime. In fact, more than six million pilgrims and worshipers come to Jingu every year.
Like the main and auxiliary sanctuaries, the Uji Bridge is rebuilt in keeping with the twenty year cycle of the Shikinen Sengu (the periodic transfer of the symbols of the kami to new sanctuaries in Jingu). The architectural style of the Uji Bridge is purely Japanese. The walkway and railings are made of Japanese cypress (hinoki), while the pillars are of water-resistant zelkhova (keyaki). Parallel to the bridge are large pillars embedded in the river for protection against floating debris particularly in times of heavy rain or flooding. The Uji bridge spans over the sacred Isuzu river which, as the many poetic references made to it will reveal, has captured the imagination of the Japanese people. Those who come to worship are purified in heart and mind as they cross the Isuzu river and enter the grounds of the sanctuary.
Popularly known as O-Ise-san, or officially Jingu, Ise Jingu is principally composed of the Kotai jingu (Naiku) and the Toyoukedai jingu (Geku), where the supreme deity Amaterasu Omikami and the great deity Toyouke Omikami are worshiped, respectively. In addition, Jingu also includes fourteen auxiliary sanctuaries (bekku), as well as one hundred and nine lesser sanctuaries, including sessha, massha, and shokansha in which are generally located facilities for the preparation of sacred food and textile offerings.
Originally, Amaterasu Omikami was revered within the Imperial palace by successive Japanese Emperors. However, in the era of the tenth Emperor, Sujin Tenno(first century B.C.), in awe of the divine authority of Amaterasu Omikami, the august mirror (symbol of the kami, or goshintai) was moved from the Imperial palace by the Imperial Princess Toyosukiirihime no Mikoto and was revered in Kasanuinomura. Thereafter, during the reign of the eleventh Emperor, Suinin Tenno, in respectful obeisance of the divine command of Amaterusu Omikami for a more appropriate sanctuary, the Imperial Princess Yamatohime no Mikoto departed from Kasanuinomura. After searching in other regions, finally in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Emperor Suinin (4 B.C.), she decided upon the present sanctuary of Naiku, by the upper Isuzu river, as the place where Amaterasu Omikami should be enshrined for eternity.
It is interesting to note, that Arashi, in Japanese means "storm". She represents the temple at Ise and the goddess Amaterasu, who hid herself from the world because of the antics of her brother Susano'o, the god of storm and sea.