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Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Sumiyoshi Shrine in Yamashita, Naha City"

Sumiyoshi Shrine of Yamashita, Naha City

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Sumiyoshi Shrine of Yamashita, Naha City

     N 26 12.237E 127 40.029

Sumiyoshi Shrine in Yamashita, Naha City

This is the Sumiyoshi Shrine of Yamashita in Naha City. It's a small beautiful shrine decorated in bright orange that rests on a ridge-side near the Naha Port. Poor legibility and difficulties with some of the advance Kanji on the shrine's stone marker made it difficult for an accurate explanation of its origin. Further research is required and will update the post accordingly. There are a couple of shrines named Sumiyoshi in mainland Japan, and thus there could be a possible connection. What is known is that the shrine gives homage to 8 important figures. Some were to gods and some were of people. As you can tell from the picture above, there are 8 stone placards marking the names of a god or person. Some of the gods were those that represented the Dragon, Fire, and Land. Some of the other placards had suffixes that gave reference to a person, but the Kanji names could not be easily deciphered. This is a small simple shrine, but it does blend in with the natural beauty with the ridge-side greenery and because it is less visited, you may find a more sense of tranquility and peace than you would at some of your more high profile shrines on Okinawa.

Caution. Once you are at the main shrine area you will see an extra set of steps leading upwards into the hillside. This eventually takes you to a trail that leads you to the very top of the ridge. However, in order to get to the top you have to climb a muddy and slippery slope. There is (was?) a makeshift rope to help you climb. However, I highly recommend you don't climb it. The slope is very slippery, the rope is severely worn, and there are some rocks you can hurt your knee on. THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO GET THERE BY CAR. At the top is Gajyanbira Park. Scroll to the left on the map above and you will see a vehicle route to get to it. At the edge of Gajyanbira Park, you will find a monument giving tribute to perhaps one of Japan's most famous singers. Her name is Hibari Misora

Getting there. It is not too difficult to get the shrine, however, if you are not alert you will miss the turn-off completely. The only practical way to get there is by going on the southbound lane of the 331. As you just hit the Onoyama Park/Dome you will notice that the 331 splits into two. The right lane takes you on the 331 By-Pass on-ramp and the left most lane is the main 331 that skirts the Yamashita District. DO NOT GO ON THE ON-RAMP. STAY IN THE LEFT MOST LANE. Continue straight. You will pass one major intersection (Highway 7). As soon as you pass this you will see an ENEOS gas station to your left. Turn left as soon as you pass this gas station. The left turn is immediately after the gas station. See the blue designated route. Park near the lower park. You will a set of bright orange stair rails. That will lead you to the shrine.

Other places of interest nearby: Tribute Monument to Hibari Misora, Pineapple House of Naha City, Manko Waterbird & Wetland Center, Fukushuen Chinese Garden.

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