Since ancient times, Okinoshima has been preserved by keeping its existence largely hidden from the public.People worship the kami that dwell on Okinoshima and have long upheld strict taboos limiting access to the island that remain in force today.
Archaeological remains found on the island reveal five hundred years of ancient rituals in transition, with artifacts dating from the fourth to the ninth centuries. Okitsu-miya, one of the three Munakata Taisha shrines, comprises the entire island as well as its three adjacent reefs.
It is said to enshrine the deity Tagorihime-no-Kami, and has been designated by the Japanese government as one element of the Historic Site called "Munakata Shrine Compounds".
The entire island has also been designated as a Natural Monument, the "Primeval Forest of Okinoshima".
Okinoshima is not open to the public.
Okinoshima is situated on private land owned by Munakata Taisha, and it is a criminal offence to visit the island without permission from the shrine. Aside from emergency situations, all boats other than fishing vessels are asked to maintain a respectful distance from Okinoshima. Shinto priests are stationed on the island, and security cameras are installed there as well.