Visit this “Gateway to Heaven” in Naha
Naminoue Shrine is a Shinto place of worship located in Naha. It sits serenely atop a rocky outcrop, casting an imposing shadow over Naminoue beach below. The area is a sacred place of worship, dedicated to Nirai Kanai (world of Gods). Located close to Naha port, fishermen and seamen revere it wishing for safe journeys and prosperous fishing hauls.
Naminoue translates to “Above the waves shrine.” During the Meiji era, it was crowned as Kanpei-Shousha, or “nationally significant shrine”, and it became Okinawa Sochinju, protector of the whole of Okinawa. The original structure was destroyed during the war, but was rebuilt starting in 1953. In 2006 it was designated as the Naha City Historical Site of Cultural property.
This is a beautiful example of a traditional Shinto shrine, so if history and culture are on your to do list, this will tick both boxes. It is free to enter. Entry is through a gate up a slight incline. There are stairs, so mobility impaired people may struggle. Other facilities include restrooms, street food vendors and a shop where you can purchase charms. It’s very peaceful, and extremely well kept. Keep children close, as noise and running around isn’t tolerated in this active place of worship. Take part in a purification ritual, or observe a worship session. You can also learn how to send a prayer, or pay to have a written oracle.
Most signs have an English translation, and staff are fairly fluent. From the shrine, you can access Naminoue beach, as well as a multi-level garden area, brimming with flora and fauna. Seating areas make a great place for picnics, prayer stones and statues catch the eye when walking round too. Next door to Naminoue is Gokoku-Ji shrine, a Buddhist temple originally founded in 1367. Also close by is Shiseibyo, a Confucian temple with origins going back as far as 1671-1675 (though the building standing there now is a reconstruction built in 1975).
It’s located in an area of Naha called Wakasa, a mere stone’s throw from the port. It’s fairly easy to access, steeped in history, so an entire day can be spent here. A short distance from the shrine is a parking area. For a mere 500 yen (you pay in a shop next door, follow the hand crafted signs with the “P” on), you can park for a full day.
MONDAY – SUNDAY 9:30 am – 4:30 pm
FRIDAY-SUNDAY and Public holidays 11:30pm-9pm
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