Oarai Isosaki-jinja Shrine 大洗磯前神社
A seaside shrine with a gate at the beach of the gods
Oarai Isosaki-jinja stands on the rugged coastline facing the Pacific Ocean while waves crash about its base. The name of this gate is Kamiiso-no-Torii, which means “gate at the beach of the gods.”
How to Get There
Oarai Isosaki-jinja is two and a half kilometers from Oarai Station and accessible by taxi or bus from Nakaminato Station.
Take the JR Joban Line from Ueno Station to Mito Station. From there, take the Oarai-Kashima Line to Oarai Station.
An ancient shrine
Oarai Isosaki-jinja is rumored to have been built in 856 A.D. The main building was destroyed during fighting in the 16th century but rebuilt in the next century. The shrine has three torii gates. Each gate presents a different view and environment.
The amazing sunrise
Kamiiso-no-Torii is the most impressive. It faces east and provides a prime spot to watch the sunrise. As the sun appears on the eastern horizon, its rays bathe the gate in red. The gate is also stunning at night when bathed in moonlight.
The commemoration of Japan's creators
The shrine commemorates Omunamuchi-no-Mikoto and Sukunabikona-no-Mikoto, two deities said to have created the country of Japan.
The guardian frog statues
The shrine also has an impressive, imposing worship hall you can visit. One unique feature of Oarai Isosaki-jinja is that instead of the usual guardian lion-dog statues at the gates, it has frogs. The reason is unclear, but the speculation is that it is a play on the word frog, kaeru, and its homophone, which means to return home.