Hetsu-miya, Munakata Taisha— Center of Faith in the Three Female Deities of Munakata, Passed Down Since Ancient Times

Hetsu-miya, which is located near the Tsurikawa River in Tashima, Munakata City, Fukuoka Prefecture, is one of the three shrines that comprise Munakata Taisha.
 Hetsu-miya enshrines Ichikishimahime-no-Kami, one of the three female deities of Munakata.
 Visitors passing through the torii gate and proceeding along the path will find the Main Hall, dedicated to Ichikishimahime-no-Kami, beyond the Shinmon gate.
 On this site, shrine buildings had been constructed by the twelfth century, but were repeatedly destroyed in battles and fires.
 After the most recent destruction caused by a fire in 1557, the present Main Hall was built in 1578 by Munakata Ujisada, who was a daiguji, the highest ranking priest of the shrine.
 Since he had no children, the family of the Munakata daiguji died out.
 The present Worship Hall was built in 1590 by Kobayakawa Takakage, who was then the lord of this region.
 Subsequently, the Kuroda family began to govern the Fukuoka Domain and successive lords of the family funded the repair and maintenance of the shrine buildings.
 In this way, faith in the Three Goddesses has been passed on through many generations to the present day.
 Both the Main Hall and Worship Hall have been designated as Important Cultural Properties by the Japanese government.
Hetsu-miya of Munakata Taisha
Hetsu-miya of Munakata Taisha

Adjacent to the shrine buildings of Hetsu-miya are several small subordinate shrines.
 These were relocated to the present site from other sites in the Munakata region in 1675 by Kuroda Mitsuyuki, the third lord of the Fukuoka Domain.
 Some shrine buildings standing today were actually built that year.

shrine buildings
shrine buildings
Takamiya Saijo (Takamiya Ceremonial Site)
Takamiya Saijo (Takamiya Ceremonial Site)

Following the path beside the shrine buildings, visitors will find steps on behind the shrine that lead up Mt. Munakata.
 The steps lead to Takamiya Saijo (Takamiya Ceremonial Site), where ancient rituals were performed.
 Takamiya Saijo is very important since the rituals currently observed at Hetsu-miya originated there.
 To the northwest of the ceremonial site, visitors can view the marine route linking Hetsu-miya with Okinoshima via the Tsurikawa River, Oshima, and finally across the Genkai Sea.
 Visitors who descend the hill from Takamiya Saijo will find two shrine buildings.
 During medieval times, Hetsu-miya comprised three important shrines: the primary, secondary, and tertiary shrines, respectively called Tei-ichi-gu, Tei-ni-gu, and Tei-san-gu.
 The present Main Hall and Worship Hall of Hetsu-miya originally comprised the primary shrine.
 The two shrine buildings standing behind the two halls are the secondary and tertiary shrines, which are respectively dedicated to Tagorihime-no-Kami of Okitsu-miya, and Tagitsuhime-no-Kami of Nakatsu-miya.
 The present structures of the secondary and tertiary shrines were the subordinate shrines of Ise Jingu Shrine, gifted in 1973, when the subordinate shrines in Ise rebuilt their structures on the 60th Shikinen Sengu (regular construction of new shrine buildings).
 Since the Main Hall of Hetsu-miya enshrines Ichikishimahime-no-Kami, visiting all three shrines allows visitors to worship the three female deities of Munakata.

Directions

Nishitetsu bus Togo Station

10minutes

Munakata Taisha

Munakata Taisha

5minutes

Hetsu-miya, Munakata Taisha

Visitors proceeding along the path will then find the building of the Shimpo-kan Museum.
 Its collection comprises all 80,000 votive offering artifacts unearthed from ritual sites on Okinoshima, all of which have been designated as National Treasures.
 They include a triangular-rimmed deity-and-beast mirror, a gold ring, and gilt-bronze dragon heads.
 In addition to unearthed artifacts, the museum exhibits premodern texts that demonstrate the prosperity of the Munakata family (whose members served as senior priests of Munakata Taisha) during the medieval period, and offerings donated to the shrine by the Imperial family and the lords of the Fukuoka Domain, and many other sacred treasures of Munakata Taisha.
Shimpokan Museum,Munakata Taisha
Exhibits of unearthed artifacts from Okinoshima ritual sites
Shimpokan Museum,Munakata Taisha
2331 Tashima, Munakata city, Fukuoka prefecture, 811-3505, Japan TEL:0940-62-1311 FAX:0940-62-1315
Fees ●Adults:500yen
●High school and college students:300yen
●Elementary and middle school students:200yen
※Free for children who are preschool-age or younger
※100 yen discount per person for groups of 15 or more
Hours of operation 9:00–16:30 (last entry: 16:00)
Open year-round, seven days a week
Uminomichi Munakatakan Museum
Munakata City Museum for the Study of Local Culture
Uminomichi Munakatakan Museum

3-minute walkfrom Hetsu-miya

588 Fukata, Munakata city, Fukuoka prefecture, 811-3504, JapanTel:0940-62-2600 Fax:0940-62-2601
Fees Free admission
※Admission may be charged for certain special exhibitions.
Hours of operation 9:00–18:30
Closed Mondays (or on Tuesday when Monday falls on a national holiday)

Historic Sites

  • Ruin of Katawaki Castle

    Five-minute walkfrom Hetsu-miya

    Ruin of Katawaki Castle
    This is a mountain castle located south of Hetsu-miya. Although the castle was initially constructed as a residence for successive generations of daiguji, it was fortified during the Warring States Period (mid-fifteenth to early seventeenth centuries).
  • Chinkoku-ji

    Ten-minute walk from Hetsu-miya

    Chinkoku-ji
    This temple belonging to the Shingon sect of Buddhism was constructed adjacent to Munakata Taisha as a temple attached to the shrine. The temple enshrines five statues of deities, including the three goddesses of Munakata.
  • Sakurakyo Mounded Tomb

    Ten-minute walk from Konominato Iriguchi bus stop

    Sakurakyo Mounded Tomb
    This 40-meter-long keyhole-shaped tomb was constructed in the sixth century. The rear mound has a stone chamber consisting of a stone shelf and stone pillars that support the shelf. The pillars and the wall of the chamber have triangular motifs painted in red, green, and white. (The chamber is not open to the public.)
  • Tomb of Munakata Ujisada

    Fifteen-minute walk from Motosue bus stop

    Tomb of Munakata Ujisada
    In the sixteenth century, Munakata Ujisada served as the last daiguji (high priest) of Munakata Taisha. Among his achievements, one of the most notable is the reconstruction of the primary shrine (the main shrine hall) of Hetsu-miya.
  • Orihata Shrine

    Ten minute walk from Kanesaki Shako bus stop

    Orihata Shrine
    Orihata Shrine is among the shrines listed in the Engishiki (compiled in the tenth century), and was revered by the imperial court in ancient times. During the medieval period the shrine began performing rituals associated with Munakata Shrine, and became one of its important subordinate shrines.

Guide map of the main island of Kyushu

*Bus routes are indicated in red.

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Contact Information

Munakata Taisha Shrine Office

2331 Tashima, Munakata, Fukuoka 811-3505

Tel+81 0940-62-1311

Fax+81 0940-62-1315

Munakata City Office for World Heritage Nomination

1-1-1 Togo, Munakata, Fukuoka 811-3492

Tel+81 0940-36-9456

Fax+81 0940-36-6912

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