Munakata Taisha

Shinto shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan

Munakata Taisha is a group of three Shinto shrines located in Munakata, Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is considered the head shrine among approximately 6,000 Munakata shrines throughout the country. While the name Munakata Taisha refers to all three shrines - Hetsu-gū, Nakatsu-gū, and Okitsu-gū - it is commonly used to specifically refer to Hetsu-gū. As mentioned in Japan's second oldest book, Nihon Shoki, the shrines are dedicated to the three Munakata goddesses known as Munakata-sanjojin.

Munakata Taisha
Hetsu-no-Miya Honden of 1578 (ICP)
  • Ichikishima Hime-no-Kami
  • Tagitsu Hime-no-Kami
  • Tagori Hime-no-Kami
TypeMunakata Shrine
Location2331, Tashima, Munakata
Fukuoka 811-3505
1811, Ōshima, Munakata
Fukuoka 〒811-3701
Munakata Taisha is located in Japan
Munakata Taisha
Shown within Japan
Geographic coordinates33°49′53″N 130°30′50″E / 33.83139°N 130.51389°E / 33.83139; 130.51389
Glossary of Shinto

These deities, known as Munakata-sanjojin, are believed to be either daughters of the goddess Amaterasu, who is considered the ancestress of the imperial family, or daughters of Susanoo, who has been worshipped at Munakata Taisha as the god of mariners for many years. Over time, Susanoo has also come to be revered as the god of traffic safety on land.

Munakata Taisha is also home to many Japanese treasures. Hetsu-gū's honden (main shrine) and haiden (main prayer hall) are both designated Important Cultural Properties and the precincts are a Historic Site

Munakata Taisha is not only a place of worship, but also home to many precious Japanese treasures. The honden (main shrine) and haiden (main prayer hall) of Hetsu-gū are designated as Important Cultural Properties, and the entire precincts are recognized as a Historic Site.[1] In addition, the shrine's treasure hall called Shinpō-kan, located at the southwest corner of Hetsu-gū's grounds, holds numerous valuable relics, including six National Treasures of Japan. The Shinpō-kan houses over 120,000 artifacts that were excavated on Okinoshima, an island associated with Munakata Taisha..[2]

Three shrines change

Gate of Hetsu-no-miya

All three shrines of Munakata Taisha are located in Fukuoka Prefecture, but they are situated on separate islands. The main shrine, Hetsu-gū, is located on the mainland of Kyūshū. Nakatsu-gū is situated at the base of Mt. Mitake on the island of Ōshima, which is off the west coast of Kyūshū.[3] The last shrine, Okitsu-gū, is located on the island of Okinoshima, which is situated in the middle of the Genkai Sea. The entire island of Okinoshima is considered sacred, and as a result, women are not allowed to set foot on the island. Men must also perform a purification ceremony before landing on Okinoshima according to the shrine's customs..[4]

In 2009, the three shrines of Munakata Taisha were submitted for potential inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of a serial nomination called "Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region.".[5][6][7]

In July, 2017 Japan's Okinoshima Island gained UNESCO World Heritage Status.[8]

Shrine Name Enshrined Deity Island Location Coordinates
Hetsu-gū (辺津宮) Ichikishima-hime-no-Kami (市杵島姫神) Kyūshū 33°49′53″N 130°30′50″E / 33.83139°N 130.51389°E / 33.83139; 130.51389
Nakatsu-gū (中津宮) Tagitsu-hime-no-Kami (湍津姫神) Ōshima 33°53′49″N 130°25′56″E / 33.89694°N 130.43222°E / 33.89694; 130.43222
Okitsu-gū (沖津宮) Tagori-hime-no-Kami (田心姫神) Okinoshima 34°14′33″N 130°6′14″E / 34.24250°N 130.10389°E / 34.24250; 130.10389
The three shrines correspond to the three daughters of Susanoo shown on the left

Related pages change

References change

  1. "宗像神社境内" [Munakata Jinja Precinct]. Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  2. "Stroll through Munakata History". 宗像市公式Webサイト. Archived from the original on 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  3. "Munakata-taisha Nakatsu-gu Shrine". Japan National Tourist Organization. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  4. "Muna Kata Tai Sha". Archived from the original on 2006-01-25. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  5. "Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region". UNESCO. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  6. "Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region". World Heritage Promotion Committee of "Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region". Archived from the original on 5 November 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  7. "Overview of Munakata City". 宗像市公式Webサイト. Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  8. "Japan's Okinoshima island gains Unesco World Heritage status". BBC News. 2017-07-09. Retrieved 2017-07-09.

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