May
20
2012

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Besides beautiful Aoshima, Miyazaki’s Nichinan coast has other nice spots to offer.
After visiting Aoshima I took the same bus line as before which rides along the coastline. That alone is worth the bus ride! My next stop of the day was Udo Shrine, also known as Udo Jingu (鵜戸神宮).
From Aoshima it’s a 45min. bus ride, from Miyazaki Station it almost takes 1.5h, but it’s all worth it, trust me. If you’re not convinced yet, just have a look at the photos!

smilie Visited: January 2nd 2012 smilie

Let’s explore UDO SHRINE:

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

The bus stop was a little bit away from the shrine. Furthermore due to New Year’s chaos there were traffic jams, so the bus driver decided to let us get off somewhere else (even farther away).
The first thing that caught my eye was this hilarious gorilla, just sitting there and chilling!

It was quite a walk up to the shrine, I’d say at least 20-30min. involving quite a few stairs as well. I stopped a few times to take some photos and catch my breath.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

At this point you could choose if you want to go the “pilgrim path” (through the red gate shown in the photo above) which was more stressful with more stairs or the “normal visitors’ path”. I chose the normal route.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

And somehow I made it to the shrine! Beautiful weather!

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Lots of people everywhere. Luckily there were many food stands around as well and I took a break and ate yummy takoyaki.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

The roughly 5-10min. walk to the main shrine building leads you along the coast. The view from there is breathtaking! You just can’t rush, you need to slow down and enjoy it!

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

*LOL* Picturing restoration of nature around the shrine.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

The actual shrine is IN a cave! How cool is that??!!

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

It was packed with people that day so it was a bit difficult to take photos or explore the cave to the fullest.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

The cutest wishing plaques I’ve ever seen!
Of course I couldn’t resist and had to buy one of the rabbit wooden plates! They were leftovers from last year (2011 zodiac: the rabbit).

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Another thing that is special and pretty cool about Udo Shrine is “Undama Throwing“.
Undama (運玉) means something like “good luck ball”. If you want to try it and they don’t understand you, just say “undama nage” (運玉投げ) and they’ll know!

Undamas are clay balls and you can purchase 5 of them for 100yen, so it’s a really cheap pleasure, especially if you consider that admission to the shrine is free!

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

After purchasing them you have to try getting them into the center of the “Kameishi rock”.
Also, be careful, there’s a rule to make sure you receive good fortune: Women must throw with their right, men with their left hand.
This is one of the reasons why I decided not to do it. I’m left-handed and on top of that suck at throwing BIG TIME! (^-^’)

Another thing to notice is the rock behind the cave that is shaped like breasts which is why it’s called “Ochichi-iwa” (お乳岩, breast rock).
According to a legend the goddess left her breasts behind when she left.
Even nowadays candy that is said to come from those holy breasts is sold at the shrine. Expecting mothers especially care about the candy as it is said to ensure an easy delivery and good childcare.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

There’s also a legend that the breasts have nourished Emperor Jimmu who was the first Emperor of Japan.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

The main approach to the shrine in the cave, viewed from a bit farther away.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

There was also a smaller shrine on the grounds.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

And then it was time to leave.
I took yet the same bus again to approach my final destination which wasn’t too far away:  Sunmesse.

If you know some Japanese, you can read more about Udo Shrine here.
Stay tuned for more!~smilie

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