History of the Ryugu Shrine
The Ryugu Shrine is a shrine dedicated to Ryujin, a sea god known in Japanese folklore. Located at the southernmost tip of the Satsuma Peninsula, this shrine is also known to be the birthplace of Urashima Taro, a fisherman who is also the protagonist of the said local legend.
The legend has many variations, but one of the versions tell about the story of how Taro had saved a turtle once and the turtle turned out to be a princess named Otohime. The princess then invited Taro to go under the sea at the Ryugu Palace but Taro wished to return to the land after three days. Princess Otohime then gave him a parting gift called tamatebako, which she said will protect Taro from harm but she told Taro not to open it. When Taro came back to the land, everyone he knows had already disappeared. This prompted Taro to open the box which had turned him into a 300-year old man.
Aside from the legend, Ryugu Shrine is also known as a place where people go to pray for matchmaking and good fortune. The location of the shrine is also a good place to explore by foot as it provides a scenic view of the sea and Cape Nagasakibana.
Facilities of the Ryugu Shrine
Aside from visiting the shrine, you can also do sightseeing here. It’s also an ideal picture-taking spot for landscape photography.
Admission is free
■ Observe silence to avoid distracting those who pay their respects at the shrine.
■ Dress appropriately when visiting the shrine.
The shrine is open all day.
How to get there
■ By car
It is a 15-minute drive from Nishi-Oyama station.
■ By bus
Take the Kagoshima Kotsu Bus at the Yamagawa Station on the JR Ibusuki Makurazaki Line. Get off at the Nagasakibana bus stop. It takes about a three-minute walk going to Ryugu Shrine.
1578-8 Yamagawa Okachiyogamizu, Ibusuki City, Kagoshima Prefecture