SYNOPSIS:  It may not be the most impressive shrine for tourists, but it is the most important Shinto shrine for Japan and one of the most austere and authentic ones, so I had to go:  About Ise, the imperial shrine.  About the question what it takes to justify unbearable costs.  And about the discipline of school children.  For some reason this is a very long blog.  I am sorry…  It’s just another shrine if you boil it right down.


Even the mighty Egyptians had to give up building pyramids at one point, most likely because the costs of creating one extravagant tomb per emperor whose construction would take decades — tying up most of the labor force of Egypt annually for four months (during flood season), and about 10% of the labor force for the rest of the year — was unsustainable.  We may associate Egypt foremost with pyramids, but in its 3000 years of existence, pyramids were only built for about 400 years.  The tomb construction at the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens that followed was sumptuous enough but could be accomplished at a fraction of the cost.  Who ultimately convinced the Egyptians of the new ways?  Were they even asked?  Was there resistance among the pharaohs?  What religious and doctrinal hoops did the priesthood have to jump through to accomplish this shift?… VIEW PHOTOS AND READ THE WHOLE STORY