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 one of the most important shrines 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 Beppu Port or six kilometers from Urago Port.
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 shrine office, which was originally the priests’ house.
Built in 1732, the honden (main shrine building) sits partly within a cave. Known to offer protection to those at sea, sailors on kitamaebunne, “northbound” cargo ships back in the Edo period, would hold rituals on board to the deity of Takuhi when they passed nearby.
One legend is that when Emperor Gotoba became lost on his way to exile on this island in 1221, a magical light that appeared from the shrine saved him from disaster
Handmade in Osaka
The wooden shrine building which sits partly in the cave, 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 40 minutes (one-way).
The annual festival, held on July 23, takes place in the shrine office and kagura dances are performed at night in odd-numbered years.