Miyajidake Jinja (shine) is home to extravagant items of good fortune and spiritual awakening.
This unique shrine, located in Fukutsu in northwestern Fukuoka Prefecture at the top of the Kyushu region, houses sacred objects — all the biggest of their kind in Japan — collectively and commonly referred to as “Japan’s Best Three.”
The first super-sized object is a shimenawa, or rope talisman, hanging from the shrine. The giant rope, made of hemp, hangs upon the front of the shrine and weighs an impressive five tons. It stretches 13 ½-meters long and is about 2 1/2 meters in diameter. The rope is definitely a memorable sight and was handmade by local shrine volunteers.
The next mega item is the copper bell. The 450-kilogram bell makes a mighty noise when rung inside the shrine. The final of the three is the giant taiko drum. It has a diameter of 2.2 meters and is a fully functional drum. Normally, it sits inside the shrine and visitors can only view it behind glass, but every New Year’s Day the drum is revived and hit to mark the coming of the new. It can be heard for miles around.
Bonus! There is also a secret fourth massive sight to see at Miyajidake Jinja, the largest megalithic ancient tomb in Japan. The stone chamber is 23-meters long and has a five-meter high ceiling. Inside, priests perform ancient and intimate rituals to honor the spirits there.
Miyajidake is dedicated to the ancient Empress Jingu and is an important location for followers of Shinto. The shrine houses eight smaller shrines within its large grounds. Every year, over 2 million visitors come to visit each of these eight temples to take part in what is called the Oku no Miya Hachisha Mairi— visiting each of them in turn for a little extra luck.
For those still seeking more, the shrine is famous for its view of the sando, or road to the temple. From the shrine, you can see the torii gate framing the road below as it stretches out until it meets the sea. This iconic view has been used in several commercials and is very popular with Japanese tourists.