Miyajidake sits in the northern region of Fukutsu city about 1 hour from central Fukuoka.
It is famous for the ‘road of faith’ and stairs leading up to the main temple which look out directly to the sea about a kilometre away. More on this later.
Sunsets around October are supposed to be really beautiful.
The ‘KAMI’ of Miyajidake is called Okinagatarashi Hime no Mikoto Goddess. Two brothers, named Katsumura and Katsuyori support her. These two deities are said to be based on the royal family that once ruled the whole area of Miyajidake. Together, the three deities are called Miyajidake Mihashiraoo Kami “the ‘KAMI’ of Wealth and Victory”.
A unique feature of this shrine is the long straight road (about 1km) connecting the ocean with the shrine. It is called the ‘road of faith’. But what does it mean? The shrine worships wealth and in ancient times traders came to Kyushu from across the sea (China and Korea) via the Silk Road. They brought goods with them all the way from Europe. In turn Japanese artisans also sold their goods to the merchants which were sold in Europe. The road leads people to find wealth following the sunset to the silk road and to riches. Sounds great doesn’t it?
Kyushu has some of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan and this shrine is believed to be over 1600 years old. At the top of the hill there is an ancient royal ‘kofun’, tomb and various gold tomb goods have been excavated from the site. It is the largest megalithic stone kofun in Japan measuring 23m long and 5m wide and high. The tomb is thought to be from the 6th century. Unfortunately photos are not allowed inside the kofun 😦 I thought about disobeying the rule because it was my first time to go inside a kofun and I wanted to share this with everyone but I didn’t want to make the goddess angry so I stuck to the rules.
Over 300 items were found in the tomb and 30 of which are now national treasures. Swords, sword fittings, saddles, stirrups, gold goods including a crown as well as lapis lazuli (glass) pots, bowls and plates were found in the royal tomb.
At the rear of the shrine, is a park which has some old Edo period buildings, a lake and what looks like an old Yayoi period rice field. I got some nice photos of the buildings and it was nice to see what life would have been like as a farmer in Japan a few hundred years ago.
Article and photos by Stuart Iles, Fukuoka, Kyushu.