Udo-jingū: A Most Unusual Shrine

Udo-jingū: A Most Unusual Shrine
During the Age of the Gods, the daughter of the Japanese sea King Ryujin, Toyotama, lived with her father in the underwater palace of Ryugu-jo. One day, the dragon goddess met a young hunter named Hoori who had come to the bottom of the ocean looking for a missing fishing hook that belonged to his brother. The two fell in love and were married.

After a few years of living together in the palace, Hoori began to long for a life above the sea. He convinced Toyotama to come with him and, pregnant with his child, she agreed. They set up camp inside a cave along the shore and soon after Toyotama went into labour.

Not wanting her husband to see her transform into her alternative form, Toyotama begged him to wait outside. Curiosity got the better of him, though, and he peered in to find a giant black dragon holding a baby. Ashamed, Toyotama fled back to the sea, leaving her breasts behind to feed the newborn child.

Udo-jingū (鵜戸神宮) is located in this mythical birthplace, on the Nichinan Coast, about 40km (25 mi) south of Miyazaki City. The gorgeous, vermilion-lacquered shrine is dedicated to Hoori and Toyotama’s son, Ugayafukiaezu, who grew up to father Japan’s first ruler, Emperor Jimmu.

On a lazy Saturday afternoon, Austin and I decided to take a drive down the coast and visit the famous shrine. I had been just once before, but having arrived too late in the day, I never got to see the honden, or main shrine.

Udo-jingū is set inside a cave on a cliff ...... (follow the instructions below for accessing the rest of this article).
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Sights Map

Guide Name: Udo-jingū: A Most Unusual Shrine
Guide Location: Japan » Nichinan
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (B))
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Udo-jingū  
Author: Simone Armer
Read it on author's website: http://www.simonearmer.com/udo-jingu-a-most-unusual-shrine/