Mizuwakasu-jinja Shrine 水若酢神社
A majestic island shrine with a notable festival
There are about 150 Shinto shrines in the Oki Islands . Of these, Mizuwakasu-jinja is one of the four most important, enshrining a deity that protects the sea around the islands.
How to Get There
The shrine is in the Goka area of Dogo Island (the largest of the Oki Islands), about 13 kilometers north of the port of Saigo on the main road running through the island. A local bus line stops here, but there number of buses is limited, so check the bus schedule before going.
Dancing, sumo and archery
The current building was built at the end of the 18th century in Oki-zukuri style, with a thatched roof. Although only used on special occassions, the sumo ring on the grounds is well maintained.
Every even-numbered year on May 3, the shrine fills with people for the Sairei Furyu Festival, one of the three great festivals of the Oki Islands. You can witness kagura dancing, lion dancing, and horseback archery known as yabusame.
Right next door
Right next door to the shrine is the local history museum, the Oki Kyodokan, housed in a lovely white wooden building that was once a town hall. There you can see exhibits that cover the history and folklore of the islands.
In the grounds behind the museum, you will find a lovely 150-year-old thatched farmhouse that you can enter and explore.
Also nearby is the Goka Soseikan, where displays and videos introduce the natural environment and many local traditions of the islands, such as bull sumo.