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Photo By: PIXTA/ KAZE
Region
Kyushu
Island
Kyushu
Largest City
Fukuoka
Population
5,015,666

Shikaumi Shrine

Visit the shrine said to be founded by the legendary Empress Jingu

By Elizabeth Sok

Located on Shikanoshima Island, close to the mainland of Fukuoka City, powerful deities are enshrined here in Shikaumi Shrine. An important protector shrine for the former Chikuzen (now Fukuoka) region which faces the Genkai Sea, Shikaumi Shrine’s preservation of ancient folklore and festivals make it a must-visit.

History

Shikaumi Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/ KAZE This shrine is dedicated to the Azami’s three sea deities.

Known as the ancestral home of the seafaring Azami people who controlled northern Kyushu between the third and seventh centuries, this shrine is dedicated to the Azami’s three sea deities, known as Watatsumi, which represent the seas surrounding Japan. In the shrine, the nakatsu no watatsumi no kami (middle sea depths God) is on the left, the sokotsu no watatsumi no kami (sea depths God) is in the middle while the uwatsu no watatsumi no kami (sea surface God) is on the right. Their higher god, Azami no Isora, who helped the Azami with safe sea navigation, is also enshrined here. Because of this history, to this day, Shikaumi Shrine offers protection for ocean voyages, traffic safety and recovery from illness.

Royal Resident

Shikaumi Shrine

Photo by: PIXTA/Y.BLUE A shrine made in the deity’s honor.

Also worshiped at this shrine is the Empress Jingu. Jingu was a legendary ruler of Japan who reigned during much of the third century. While there are mentions of her life and exploits in Japan’s oldest historical texts, the Kojiki and Nihon Shiki written in the ninth century, the factuality of these accounts is highly disputed by scholars inside and outside Japan. Nevertheless, the empress’ legacy continues to dot the spiritual and mythological landscape in Japan, including Shikaumi Shrine which she allegedly constructed. Upon returning from a successful three-year military campaign on the Korean Peninsula, Empress Jingu barely made it back to the Japanese archipelago. Ultimately, she credited her safe return to her prayers to Watatsumi and made a shrine in the deity’s honor.

Shikaumi Jinja (Shrine) preserves the mythology of the Azami people on its grounds. Sacred stones representing sea turtles can be found and tie the site to its maritime roots. In addition to sea iconography, visitors can also check out over a thousand deer antlers on display. These animals were central to the Azami’s religious beliefs and can be found in other shrines and temples in the region. There is also an ancient Korean bell, a stone monument and a casting of a copper blade on site. The view of the ocean from the shrine grounds is also a beautiful vista to gaze upon.

Things To Know

HOURS AND FEES

The shrine is open from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., every day. Admission is free

How To Get There

Address

By bus

10-minute walk from Shikanoshima bus stop for Nishitestu buses 1 or 21.

By boat

Take a 33-minute ferry from Hakata Bayside Place Ferry Terminal to Shikanoshima Island.

Where To Stay

The Luigans Spa & Resort
  • 18-25 Saitozaki, Fukuoka-shi Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, 811-0321 Japan
  • ¥24,564 - ¥80,235
  • 4.52/5 (1,762 reviews)
  • 4.7 km
Hotel Marinoa Resort Fukuoka
  • 2-12-43 Odo, Fukuoka-shi Nishi-ku, Fukuoka, 819-0001 Japan
  • ¥19,600 - ¥22,960
  • 4.88/5 (311 reviews)
  • 8.1 km
Hilton Fukuoka Sea Hawk
  • 2-2-3 Hirutonfukuokashi-Ho-Ku, Fukuoka-shi Chuo-ku, Fukuoka, 810-8650 Japan
  • ¥26,479 - ¥435,554
  • 3.67/5 (4,470 reviews)
  • 9.3 km
The 358 Sora
  • 6-6-5 Kashiiteriha, Fukuoka-shi Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, 813-0017 Japan
  • ¥9,702 - ¥46,332
  • 4.46/5 (533 reviews)
  • 9.3 km
The 358 Umi
  • 6-6-5 Kashiiteriha, Fukuoka-shi Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, 813-0017 Japan
  • ¥8,256 - ¥48,520
  • 4.37/5 (586 reviews)
  • 9.4 km

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