Pebble road (Tamajari no Michi)


Walking in the precinct of Ise Jingu**, we notice that the approach to the shrines is covered with pebbles.


Walking the pebble road, the subtle vibrations of the pebbles rubbing each other are transmitted from the soles of feet to the entire body, which makes us feel very comfortable. At the same time, the solemn crunch of footsteps sounds like a whisper of the nature. Looking around the pebbles covered all over the road, while we notice there are no same pebbles in size or shape, we find we ourselves are in a strange feeling as if we were floating above the clouds.


Usually, walking on the asphalted road, we often experience that thoughts like anxiety, hesitation and so on, occur and circulate in our mind. On the other hand, walking on the pebble road, such thoughts disappear, our consciousness spreads to the outer world, and even our five senses are transcended, accordingly we feel as if we were invited to an infinite world.

The pebble roads of Ise Jingu are said to be covered with round pebbles without edges, which were originally at the bottom of river in nature. Interesting is that the pebbles must be stones in river, not sea. Why it must be so? Probably, there is a deep reason behind it.


The pebble road invites us, human beings, to the sacred world, I certainly think so, walking on the pebble road of Ise Jingu.


*Tamajari means Pebbles in Japanese.

**Ise Jingu consists of two areas, Naiku(Kotaijingu) and Geku(Toyo’uke-daijingu), each of which has a pebble approach within its vast precinct.