Takuhi-jinja Shrine 焼火神社
The guardian shrine of sailors that once lit up the sea lanes
Revered by sailors and used as a lighthouse, Takuhi-jinja Shrine is set two-thirds of the way up Mt. Takuhi. It is the oldest and most important shrine on the island of Nishinoshima. From its vantage point, you will have dramatic views of the surrounding seas and islands.
- Viewing the intricately carved relief on the cave shrine
- Taking the path to the summit
How to Get There
The shrine is a 15-minute walk through a nature preserve from the parking lot.
Nishinoshima is a small island with limited bus services, so most people rent a car or bicycle, or take a taxi. The shrine is eight kilometers from the ferry port in Beppu or four kilometers from the town of Mita.
Extending out from inside a cave
As you climb the path through the forest, you pass several small shrines and high earthen walls, behind which stand the impressive priests' house. Past a huge, ancient tree sits the shrine itself.
Built in the Heian period (794-1185), the innermost building sits within a cave. Known to offer protection to those at sea, sailors on the great trading ships would hold rituals on board to the deity here when they passed nearby on their way down the Sea of Japan coast and on to Osaka .
One legend is that when Emperor Gotoba became lost on his way to exile on this island in 1221, only a magical light that appeared from the shrine saved him from disaster.
Handmade in Osaka
The rearmost building in the cave, with its intricate carvings, was prefabricated in Osaka and carried up the mountainside piece by piece in 1732.
Nearby, a path takes you up to the summit, where the views are even more expansive, in about 10 minutes.
The annual festival, held on July 23, takes place in the priests' house and features kagura dances performed throughout the night.