Experience the lifestyle of the Saio
The remains of the Saiku village (also known as Itsukinomiya) which have been nationally designated as a historic site located about 30 minutes away from Ise Grand Shrine by car served as the palace and offices for the Saio princess. The Itsukinomiya Hall for Historical Experience was built in one corner of the grounds from cedar and cypress wood from Mie Prefecture in the style of a Heian Era palace. At the Saiku Historical Romance Plaza located on the north side of the hall, a complete model of the Saiku Ruins has been made at 1/10th the size of the original structure with the group of buildings based on excavation being able to be observed. The hall has exhibits which change by season and there is a wide selection available where you can always easily visit the exhibits which include aspects of Heian culture. You can get a sense of what everyday life was like for the nobility starting from the Saio herself.
Plenty of special projects that you can visit easily
You can sample for free the amusements from those ancient times such as a sugoroku board game and kaioi which involves pairing two pieces of a clamshell with a Heian picture scroll painted on them, and outdoor ball games such as gicho and kemari. As examples of everyday life for the nobility, you can actually get onto a restored model of a sokaren, the palanquin which only VIPs including the Saio could ride, or try on the Heian court clothing which female members of the nobility wore. For the popular experience of trying on Heian Era costumes (requires reservations and admission), anyone from children to adults can put on true Heian Era clothing such as juunihitoe ceremonial robes and take a commemorative picture.
Held during the time of the Harvest Moon is the Itsukinomiya Moon-Viewing Party. Beautiful gagaku court music and dance performances are held, and during the evening in which about 3000 candles are lit up, the proceedings take on a mystical atmosphere. In late December, a ceremony of repelling evil spirits based on the traditional event of Setsubun is also recreated.
You can download the app right here to get even more enjoyment of this spot.