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TOURISM VISIT | 05/09/2019

Harimizu Utaki (張水御嶽) ,the most popular sacred site in Miyakojima

“Harimizu Utaki”, Near the port of Hirara, there is a representative secred place called "Utaki" from Miyakojima. It is an old place name around here called Pyalimizu.

In the early morning, people come visit here incessantly, and put hands together to pray to their ancestors and gods, in front of this Utaki.

Utaki, the secred and forbidden places in okinawa

In Okinawa, there are many places called Utaki to worship the gods of ancestors. Here in Miyako, there are a lot of Utakis for each area and each village as well. If you find a bush or forest in the village in Miyako, there is probably a Utaki in it.
Unlike Japanese shrines, Utaki is basically prohibited from entering the public. It is a sacred place where private rituals take place throughout the year, so it is a place that should not be entered except for selected women called Tsukasa who serve God.
Among them, this Harimizu Utaki is one of the few Utakis that ordinary people can go inside and worship.

In legend, the gods of men and women first descended on Harimizu

There is a legend story in Miyako. A long time ago when people were not yet in this world, a male god named Kuitsunu and a goddess named Kuitama landed around here in Harimizu, then Miyakojima was born, and people and everything were born.

A few hundred years later, strange things happened

Hundreds of years after the advent of Gods, one strange beauty boy appeared in the dream of one daughter of a wealthy house in the area, and the daughter wore a child. The parents thinking that the boy must be a monster, think of a plan to find out what they are. Then, the parents instructs the daughter to stick a long thread that is a marker on the boy's neck so that the boy can not find it, when the boy appears next time.
And as the daughter and parents traced the thread and entered the back of the cave, it was the god Kuitsunu, in the form of a serpent.

Birth of the guardian gods of the triplet

After a while, the daughter gave birth to a triplet girls. When the children reached 3 years old, they took the children to the god Kuitsunu as the god said. Then the daughters were led by God and entered the cave and became the guardian deities of Harimizu.
Finally, the serpent seemed to have emitted golden light and rose to the sky.

In the past, there was a Kuramoto (Ryukyu king government's local office) and so on in the area around Harimizu Utaki, which was once the center of the administrative organization. At that time there were also large stone buildings.
However, there are no buildings that are unfortunately extant due to being destroyed by air raids during the Pacific War and being demolished by development around the port.
A stone walls of Ryukyu limestone and a cobblestone road still remain around Harimizu Utaki, and you can get a glimpse of old masonry techniques.

Place 張水御嶽(Harimizu Utaki)
Address 〒906-0012 Okinawa, Miyakojima, Hirara, Nishizato−8 MAP
Attention As it is a sacred place, please observe the local manners when visiting.
Reference "Ryukyu: Architecture and Culture" by Chuta Ito(1942) etc.