Legend of Oarai Isosaki Jinja

Oarai Isosaki Jinja is a time-honored Shinto shrine located at the seashore of Ibaraki Prefecture. It is a very unique shrine for several reasons, one of which is the fact that a Torii gate is placed on seaside rocks jutting out into the Pacific Ocean. It is called “Kami-iso no Torii”, or Torii gate located on the deity’s seaside rocks where two Shinto deities (Oonamuchinomikoto and Sukunahikonomikoto) descended in the year of 856 to relieve people. According to legend, their visit to Oarai was the second one after their first expedition from the east to the west of Japan.
Kami-iso no Torri jutting out into the ocean

Kami-iso no Torii is actually placed in a perfect way to provides a magnificent view of the Sun rising from the Pacific Ocean behind the gate. I visited the shrine in the afternoon to ride on a ferry from Oarai but my next visit should be made before daybreak.

Besides, there are several Torri gates at the shrine. They are to separate the Shinto’s sacred world from our secular world. Shinto deities come in and out by crossing under Torii and it is our way of showing respect to Kami or Shinto deities by NOT walking under the center of Torri for the section being for Kami.
The 2nd Torii connecting to the worship hall

The worship hall adorned with a big Ema votive tablet

By Jin Shibata

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