Connecting with Okinawa’s Most Sacred Sites

Our tour reached the half way point today as we visited the most significant sacred sites and historical places in Okinawa.  We all woke bright and early to leave for the Azama Pier and board our boat to Kudaka Island.  This island is said to be the place where the gods descended to create the first Okinawa people and also brought the 5 sacred grains which still sustain the Okinawa people today.  We were guided by a “kaminchu”, or spiritual leader of the island to a few sacred areas on the south end of the island.  Unfortunatelly we couldn’t visit the north side because of the beginning ceremonies and prayers for an observance which signaled the arrival, mating and laying of eggs of the irabu, sea snakes.

We learned from the “kaminchu” that the head “guru” or priestesses of this island in the Hokama and Kudaka areas, were the most powerful and lead the ceremonies and rituals which date back to the three kingdom period of LooChoo.  These two priestesses were the ones who initiated other guru, including the high priestess Kikoe Okimi of Shuri.  The Hokama and Kudaka nuru were successors of their family line as to where other nuru came and learned their practice at Kudaka from the nuru on the island.  So this was actually the central place of training and education for priestesses and where even the Shuri king came to get advice.

After that we returned to the main island and continued to Sefa Utaki, which is connected to Kudaka Jima as a spiritual center.  Up to 400 years ago the center of spiritual power and training was on Kudaka.  After that they moved it to Sefa Utaki.  It was a big difference at Sefa Utaki, in that there were bus loads of tourists, and the way that they have fixed up the place since it has been designated a s a sacred site made it seem like any other tourist place.  We were told that the Japanese tourist have made it a main “power spot” to receive power.  This “power spot” belief has gotten very popular with Japanese and some online and tour companies have also made “power spot” tours to go to these sacred and private areas that only the locals used to go to.

One thought on “Connecting with Okinawa’s Most Sacred Sites

  1. Dear members of Ukwanshin Kabudan,

    my name is Hiromu (22) and I just discovered your page while looking for information about kudaka-island.
    I am half-japanese (my grandfather is from Yoron) and I want to come to Okinawa in mid-August.
    I am very interested in Okinawan music and spiritual practice, because I am studying music. Also I have mental/health problems since a long time and that’s why I am also very interested in Okinawan spirituality.
    Sorry for asking you so directly and disturbing you; but
    maybe do you have some good information/contacts for learning more about Okinawan religious culture and music?

    Thank you in advance!!!

    Best wishes from Berlin,
    Hiromu

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