Travel

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Kyushu is really beautiful – and Miyazaki Prefecture is no exception. 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 45 mins bus ride, from Miyazaki Station it almost takes 1.5 h, but it’s all worth it, trust me. If you’re not convinced yet, just have a look at the photos!

Visited: January 2nd 2012

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Accessing Udo Shrine

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 20-30 mins 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 strenuous with more stairs or the “normal visitors’ path”. I chose the normal route.

 

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Exploring beautiful Udo Shrine

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 stalls around as well and I took a break and ate yummy takoyaki.

Please note that the food stalls were only around because it was New Year’s Day and thus Hatsumode time.

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

The roughly 5-10 mins 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

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!

I thought they were leftovers from the previous year (2011) back then as it was the year of the rabbit. But during my second visit (December 2017) I got to know that the bunny is actually a kami (god) of Udo Jingu. That’s good news because it means you can buy the cute ema all year round.

 

Udo Shrine in Miyazaki Udo Shrine in Miyazaki

Undama Throwing for good fortune

Another thing that is special and pretty cool about Udo Shrine is “Undama Throwing“.
Undama (運玉) roughly means “good luck ball”. If you want to try it, just say “undama nage” (運玉投げ) and they’ll know.

Undamas are clay balls and you can purchase 5 of them for 100 yen, 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. (^-^’)

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.

Tourist Information:
Opening Hours:
00-19:00 (Apr – Sep); 7:00-18:00 (Oct – Mar)
Holidays:
none
Entrance fee:
free
Time required:
30-40 mins
Contact:
〒887-0101 Miyazaki Prefecture, Nichinan, Oaza Miyaura 3232 // TEL: +(81) 987-29-1001
Access:
From Miyazaki Sta. take a bus bound for “Nichinan” and get off at “鵜戸神宮” (Udo Jingu). It will take about 1 h 30 mins. It’s the same bus that also stops at Sunmesse and Aoshima!
Please note: Prices as well as opening hours / holidays are subject to change. Please make sure to follow the provided link to the official website to check out the latest updates.

15 Comments

  • I remember seeing this Undama Nage thing on TV one time but I didn’t know it was in Miyazaki. I always get to know loads of information from your blog about interesting places yet to be explored in Japan. Thanks as always.

    The view of the beach is beautiful. And the shrine inside the cave is somewhat mysterious. I believe there is a legend behind this?

    It’s nice reading shorter posts like this one but I got surprised when I reached the bottom. えええ、もう終わりって感じ. :reading:

    But it’s up to you which is more convenient. :thumbup:

    • Well, throwing cly things (usually it’s plates, though) isn’t so uncommon!
      However, I’m not sure if “undama” do exist elsewhere, too.

      I’m glad that my blabbering is actually useful and interesting. Thank you so much!! :kyah:

      Yes, there is a legend behind it. I partly wrote about it in this blog post.
      Well, the part concerning this shrine isn’t a long story anyways, but you can understand it better if you read about Izanagi and Izanami, the god and goddess who created Japan.
      I mean Miyazaki is THE place where it all began (according to the legend) anyways.

      Thanks for your opinion.
      I guess it’s because you’re used to my ultra-long entries! :hihi:

  • As always, great photos! I marveled at the blooming bougainvillea in winter.

    Miyazaki and its environs are really interesting. I guess I have to go back one of these days.

    I liked this post, but that’s because the place was beautiful, and Udo Jingu intirguing. However, I am not sure destination is better than travel day. By destination I assume you mean just one visited place. The good thing about the travel day is that it gives a better idea of what it is feasible to visit in a day. One can choose to do less, obviously. By destination might lead to some very short, less interesting posts, as some sites are really secondary. So I would stick to your travel day format.

    • I know what you mean, but some people might find it annoying to scroll through everything.
      It’s a hard decision, really.
      Thanks for your opinion! :D

  • I really enjoy the shorter posts. I think I’m able to absorb more of the information. This post was particularly pretty! Looks like a lovely place to visit.

    • Thanks so much for your opinion.
      It’s really difficult to find the right balance. Some people prefer the longer posts, others the shorter ones!

  • About Miyazaki, just now in class I heard my sensei saying that mangoes are particularly famous here. They said it’s very expensive and undoubtedly sweet. Now I wonder what kind of mangoes they grow here.. From where I come from, mangoes are quite cheap! Hahaha

  • Hello…

    I am planning to visit Udo Shrine in December….
    Can I know how long u need to cover the whole shrine?
    Thanks.

    • Once you arrive at the shrine, I’d say you’ll need about 30 minutes. But keep in mind that you’ll also waste quite a bit of time getting there from the bus stop.