Miyazaki’s Beautiful Udo Shrine
Besides beautiful Aoshima, Miyazaki’s Nichinan coast has many other worthwhile places to visit.
Udo Shrine (鵜戸神宮) is a short bus ride from Aoshima and is a great side-trip option. While it might be a little out of reach for some, I assure you a visit is worth it!
It’s quite a long walk up to the shrine, and involves a lot of stairs. Don’t worry though as you can go slowly, while stopping from time to time to take photos and catch your breath.
There are actually two paths, one if the “Pilgrim Path” which has more stairs and is more strenuous, and the other is the “Visitor’s Path” which is more direct.
The shrine is usually fairly crowded, but there are also great food stalls to feed the crowds! The prices may be a little higher than normal, but everything was quite delicious.
The path to the main building is along the coast, which is beautiful. I stopped many times to take photos along the way.
When you arrive, you’ll notice that the shrine is actually inside the cave. Although because of cramped space and lots of visitors, it can be a bit hard to explore. If you go early enough like we did, you can sometimes find it almost empty to take nice photographs!
A unique activities at Udo Shrine is the “undama (運玉) throwing”. Basically meaning “good luck ball” an undama is made of clay. For 100 yen you will be given 5 of these clay balls, which you then try to throw into the middle of the “Kameishi Rock”.
For girls you need to throw the balls only with your right hand, and men need to use their left hand in order to receive good fortune!
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, literally “breast rock”). According to one legend, a goddess left her breasts behind when she left the shrine. Another legend states those are the breasts that nourished Emperor Jinmu, the mythological first Emperor of Japan.
Today a popular candy that is said to come from those holy breasts is sold at the shrine. Expecting mothers often flock to purchase this candy as it is said to ensure an easy delivery and healthy children.
Udo Shrine is a bit out of the way to visit, but this shrine is really worth the time and effort as it’s really unique and has stunning surrounding scenery.
3232 Miyaura, Nichinan, Miyazaki 887-0101, Japan
[post by Beth]
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