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FEATURE

Refresh Your Mind and Body at Shikaumi Shrine

Take the Municipal Ferry to Shikanoshima Island. Come out of the ferry terminal, walk straight past the Shikanoshima Island Centre “Shima no Sachi” souvenir shop, and you will find the approach to the Shikaumi Shrine, the symbol of the island. Here is information on the shrine with the tips of how to pray. Recharge you mind and body on your trip.

*Please make sure you take all the basic measures against infectious diseases; wash your hands, maintain social distancing and wear a face mask, etc.

Shikaumi Shrine

It has also been revered as the “City of Dragons” where the Dragon Gods gather.

Shikaumi Shrine sits on top of the hill along the coast, watching over the island. Since ancient times, the shrine has been called the “head shrine of the sea gods” and has been revered as the guardian deity of Hakata Bay, a strategic point for maritime traffic. The deity of the shrine, Watatsumi Sanshin, is the protector of the bottom, middle and surface of the sea. He is believed to be responsible not only for the safety of maritime traffic, but also for the blessings of the tide and marine products, and to have the power to purify the sea of impurities and misfortune. He is also said to control the life and death of people as he rules over water and tides. At Shikaumi Shrine where the god of the sea is enshrined, there is a unique festival called ‘Yamahome-sai’, in which the people of the sea praise the mountains. Designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Asset by Fukuoka Prefecture, the festival is held on the 15th of April and the 15th of November annually.

Don’t forget to cleanse yourself with the purifying sand called Oshioi as the shrine is dedicated to the deity of purification.

When you visit the shrine, you should purify your body with the purifying sand called ‘oshioi.’ Oshioi are placed in front of the stone steps leading up to the shrine and in the hall of worship. First, before climbing the stone steps, lightly shake it to the left, right and left of your body. Then, after purifying your left hand, right hand and mouth at the shrine’s Chozuya, or water ablution pavilion, you can go to the shrine. As before, shake the Oshioi lightly to the left, right and left of your body, and pray; two bows, two claps and one bow. Near the Juyojo, or amulet offering booth, you will find a paper bag to fill with Oshioi to take it home. If you wish to use them, make a monetary offering to convey your appreciation.

The magnificent Genkai Sea can be seen beyond the shrine, where the turtle stones are enshrined.

On the right side of the shrine is a place of worship, where two turtle stones, one male and one female, are enshrined. These are sacred stones dedicated to the legend of Empress Jingu. It is said that when Empress Jingu prayed through Azumi no Isoramaru, the god of the sea, for her safe return to Japan from the expedition against the Three Kingdoms of Korea, the gods appeared from the sea on golden turtles, male and female, to protect and guide the route. The turtles later turned into stones, were washed up on the shore of the Shikanoshima Island and were dedicated to the gods.

Imamiya Shrine stands on the left side of the hall of worship. It is also the site of the Yamahomesai Festival’s ritual.

The shrine has five auxiliary shrines, including Okitsumiya on a small island near Katsuma Beach, and Nakatsumiya located near Katsuma Primary School. Imamiya Shrine is located within the precinct and enshrines Utsushihikakanasaku-no-mikoto, Azumi Isoramaru and the Azumi descendants.

The “Ryuto-mikuji” (dragon head fortune telling) is popular as a decoration as well.

The “Ryujin Kachimamori” (dragon god victory charm) is prayed for to “rise to victory.” It also has the meaning of “winning against yourself.”

There are many other places of interest within the precinct of the shrine; the Deer Antler Repository, where over 10,000 deer antlers have been dedicated; the main shrine built by Nagamasa Kuroda in 1600; and the Isozaki Shrine, an auxiliary shrine which is said to have the power to heal illnesses. The chirping of the birds and the faint sound of the waves will make you relaxed as you stroll along, and you will feel then refreshed. Once you’ve recharged your batteries, head to the Juyojo to receive your lucky charm. You will find a variety of amulets, such as “Kaiun Ryuto-mikuji” (lucky dragon head fortune) and “Ryujin Kachimamori” (dragon god victory amulet), which will surely be appreciated as souvenirs.

As you walk along the approach, you will see a decent arched stone bridge in front of the tower gate.

Near the shrine office, you will find the Treasure Exhibition Room.

There are ten auxiliary shrines in the precinct.

The Isozaki Shrine (right) is said to be beneficial for the cure of illness.

Kumashiro Inari-sha Shrine is said to be beneficial for business prosperity.

Bronze statues of deer standing next to the Deer Antler Repository.

▪Shikaumi Shrine
Address: 877 Shikanoshima, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka City
TEL: 092-603-6501
Open: May to October, 5:30-17:30, November to April 6:30-17:30
Car Park: Available
Related web site: Shikaumi Shrine official web site
・Kaiun Ryuto Mikuji Fortune Telling 500 yen
・Ryujin Kachimamori Amulet 800 yen
This information is as of July 2021. Make an inquiry directly to the shrine for updated information.

★ For cycling and shopping information, visit:
Shikanoshima Island – Enjoy cycling, spectacle views and seafood
★ For hiking course information, visit:
How to hike the Shikanoshima Island – trip with ferry and local bus

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