Oarai Isosaki Shrine
Let's get spiritual.
While the main attraction for many day-trippers to Oarai City is either the beach or neighboring hot springs, don’t miss the chance to visit this bonafide “power spot”, or place of spiritual energy along the rugged Oarai coastline.
Interestingly, this shrine has a total of three torii gates situated in different locations, but the most famous one by far is called Kamiiso-no-Torii, meaning Gate of the Seashore God. This spectacular structure faces the Pacific Ocean on a single rock as strong waves repeatedly splash against the stone from dawn to dusk. As if looking through a window, the breathtaking view visible from the gate’s opening is enough to feel the presence of something divine – or at least the makings of a swoon-worthy picture.
Built during the Heian Period (856 A.D.), the gods enshrined in the main hall at Oarai Isosaki are Onamuchi-no-Mikoto – the god of marriage – and Sukunahikona-no-Mikoto – the god of medicine. Ever dreamed of having a Shinto wedding? Oarai Isosaki Shrine has watched countless couples tie the knot of eternal bliss.
Furthermore, the presence of guardian lion-dogs statuettes seen outside the gates of Shinto shrines are replaced by a trio of frog statues. Perhaps these frogs represent a pun on the words “kaeru” which can either mean “frog” or “return home” – wishing travelers a safe return on their journey back from a day at the beach, shrine, and sea.
Because the Oarai coastline faces the east, the Oarai Isosaki Shrine is also aligned in the direction of the sunrise. Many locals venture to the shrine on New Year’s Day to catch the first sunrise of the year.