Feel the spiritual power of ancient Japan at the Sacred Island of Okinoshima, a newly listed UNESCO World Heritage site; JAPAN Monthly Web Magazine


Japan – Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region

Okinoshima is an island that lies in the stretch of ocean that separates the Japanese archipelago from the Korean Peninsula. Since ancient times, people have worshipped the island as a deity and prayed for safe passage across those seas. Also referred to as “the sacred island,” Okinoshima is part of a group of heritage sites (officially referred to as the Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region) where Shinto rituals were conducted over a 500-year period (between the latter half of the 4th century and the end of the 9th century AD). There are around 80,000 ancient artefacts—now designated as Japanese national treasures—that were dedicated as offerings to the deities of the time. The remains of these ancient ritual sites have remained almost untouched; protected and passed down for over 1,000 years.

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