• Director: Masaaki Miyazawa
  • Country: Japan
  • Year: 2014

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Every 20 years, locals tear down Ise Jingu, one of the most important Shinto shrine complexes in Mie Prefecture, Japan, only to rebuild it entirely from scratch. Acclaimed Japanese photographer Masaaki Miyazawa explores this 1,300-year-old ritual in his debut feature, In Between Mountains and Oceans (Umi Yama Aida). Captivated and inspired by the sacred relationship between humans and nature in the Shikinen Sengu ceremony, Miyazawa takes viewers on a meditative journey through Japan’s cypress forests, mountains, and coasts, where coexisting with the natural world is part of enduring Buddhist environmentalism.

For over a millennium, the tradition of rebuilding religious structures has played an important role in reconnecting this community to their ancestral and spiritual roots as well as transmitting Japan’s architectural and cultural heritage to the next generation.

If you’re in the New York area, join us for a special screening of In Between Mountains and Oceans at New York Insight on Friday, December 7. Shinnyo-en Buddhist priest Qalvy Grainzvolt will give us instructions on how to watch the film as a meditation, and after the screening he will lead a discussion about Buddhist and environmental ethics. You can get tickets here