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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"The Grave of Amamichu"

The Grave of Amamichu


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The Grave of Amamichu

     GPS
     LatitudeLongitude
     N 26 19.455E 127 57.982





The Grave of Amamichu


Before there were kings, there were gods – that according to Okinawan legends. The above grave or 'ohaka' houses the remains of Amamichu, the female deity that was one half responsible for creating the first inhabitants of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Her counterpart, Shirumichu – a male deity, was also responsible for establishing the first civilization here on Okinawa. Every year, particularly during the beginning of the New Year, people come here to pray for prosperity. It would not be uncommon to see a noro (priestess) here during special occasions. Women also come here to pray for fertility.

The Grave of Shirumichu? If there is a grave for Amamichu, is there a grave for Shirumichu? Or is that considered part of the Shirumichu Shrine? The name of this site is very specific – Amamichu no Haka, meaning Amamichu's grave (アマミチュー の 墓). The Shirumichu Shrine makes no mention that it is a grave, just that both Amamichu and Shirumichu lived there many, many years ago.

Accessibility. Amamichu's Grave is located at a coral rock pile just off the eastern shores of Hamahiga. There is a stone walkway leading you there, about a 75 meter walk. However, during high tide, the stone walkway disappears under the ocean. Please plan your trip according to tide information. The following link (http://magicseaweed.com/Ikei-Surf-Report/3392/) is tide information for Ikei Island which is a few kilometers to the north of Hamahiga. This will be the most accurate tide information for that area. Tide information at other parts of Okinawa will vary.

Directions. Hamahiga is accessible by vehicle. As soon as you cross the Kaichu-dori Bridge (on Highway 10 off the Katsuren Peninsula) you will see signs directing you to Hamahiga. The Amamichu Grave lies on the eastern shores of Hamahiga. Look for a very small rock island about 75 meters off the main shores of Hamahiga. Please see map above. You will see a sign board in Japanese at the entrance way to the grave. The grave also stands across from a small rest area.

Other places of interest nearby. Off The Beaten Path - Hamahiga, The Agari no Utaki, Hamahiga Beach, Shirumichu.

Source of information. Explanation sign on location in Japanese provided by Uruma City. Okinawa Diaspora (Okinawa's first creators), pg 145, Ronald Nakasone, University Hawaii Press 2002.

Note. Amamichu and Shirumichu are sometimes referred to as Amamikiyo and Shinerikiyo, respectively.