Nakatsu-miya, Munakata Taisha
A Place for Daily Religious Practice that is Integral to People's Lives
The island of Oshima, located 7 km from Konominato Harbor in Munakata City, is the largest island in Fukuoka Prefecture. The population of the island is around 700.
Nakatsu-miya, one of the three shrines that comprise Munakata Taisha, is situated on this island. It enshrines Tagitsuhime-no-Kami, one of the Three Female Deities of Munakata. A shrine was built on elevated ground at the foot of Mt. Mitake, facing the sea, to carry on the traditions that had originated with the Mitakesan ritual site at the summit of the mountain.
Near Oshima Harbor on the southern side of the island is a torii gate that stands near the sea, indicating the deep connection between Nakatsu-miya and the sea.
The Amanogawa River ("Milky Way") flows within the shrine's precincts. On each bank of the river is a small shrine: one is called Kengyu-sha and the other is Shokujo-sha. According to a Japanese legend, Kengyu and Shokujo (the stars Altair and Vega) are lovers, but their residences are separated by the Amanogawa River. The lovers are allowed to meet only once a year, on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.
On that day (August 7 in the Gregorian calendar), the Star Festival is observed at Nakatsu-miya; it is the largest of the shrine's festivals.
In the past, there was a custom that before the festival day men and women gathered at Kengyu-sha and Shokujo-sha, respectively. They drew river water in tubs and studied the images reflected in the water to determine whom their partners would be. This custom originated during the Kamakura period (1192–1333).
After passing under a torii gate and ascending the steep stone steps, visitors glimpse the shrine buildings of Nakatsu-miya. Its Main Hall, bulid in the early seventeenth century, has been designated as a Tangible Cultural Property of Fukuoka Prefecture.
Adjacent to the Main Hall are several subordinate shrines, which have been relocated from various places on the island.
There is a 970 meters path to the summit of Mt Mitake from the back of the main hall. The Shrine building of Mitake Shrine was built at the summit of the mountain, and the main hall and worship hall of Nakatsu-miya at the base of the mountain, when ancient rituals on the summit were no longer cunducted.
A path links the main hall with the mountain's summit, together forming the sacred precinct of Nakatsu-miya. The summit of Mt. Mitake offers a sweeping view of the Genkai Sea, including Okinoshima and the main island of Kyushu.
Oshima Koryu-kan(Oshima Cultural Center)
This facility offers displays and explanations about the deep historical connection between Okinoshima and Oshima, particularly regarding Nakatsu-miya and Okitsu-miya Yohaisho as places of worship.
901-4 Oshima, Munakata City, Fukuoka
Hours: 10:00–16:00 daily
Closed Mondays (when Monday is a holiday, closed the following working day) , New Year's holiday, and when boats to the island are cancelled
Eleven-minute walk from Nakatsu-miya(850m)
During the Muromachi Period (1333–1573), the poet Sogi (1421-1502) visited Munakata and composed a poem that was inspired by this small scenic islet.
Nine-minute walk from Nakatsu-miya(690m)
Ansho-in is the only Buddhist temple on Oshima. The stone monument within its precinct is believed to mark the tomb of Abe Muneto, a warrior who was exiled to Oshima after being defeated in the Former Nine Years War (1051–1062) . The temple commands a panoramic view of the island.
Five-minute walk from Nakatsu-miya(420m)
Links and Contact Information
|Munakata Taisha Shrine Office||
|Munakata City Office for World Heritage||