Watch the sunrise over this gorgeous tropical island shrine
Aoshima-jinja is a stunning island shrine located in Miyazaki, japan. Accessible only by a bridge over clear ocean waters, this shrine offers a unique and breathtaking experience for visitors. The beauty of Aoshima-jinja is truly unparalleled, especially during sunrise when the golden glow illuminates the entire shrine.
One of the most captivating sights at Aoshima-jinja is the silhouette of the shrine gate against the backdrop of the rising sun. To capture this postcard-perfect moment, it is recommended to wake up before dawn and be ready with your camera. As you witness the sunrise and take in the serene atmosphere, you might even be lucky enough to witness a traditional Shinto wedding ceremony taking place at the shrine.
Apart from the stunning sunrise view, there are several other attractions that make Aoshima-jinja a must-visit destination. During low tide, you can spot the Devil’s Washboard rocks near the shore. These unique rock formations resemble a washboard and create a mesmerizing sight. Exploring the area around the shrine, you will also come across thousands of written wishes on wooden blocks. These wishes reflect the deep spiritual connection that people have with this sacred place.
To reach Aoshima-jinja, you can travel to Miyazaki, which is approximately a 20-minute drive away. Miyazaki can be accessed by flying or driving, as there is no bullet train service available. From Miyazaki, you have several options to reach Aoshima-jinja. You can take a train, bus, or drive by car. Trains run once or twice an hour on the Nichinan Line, and it takes about 10 minutes to walk from Aoshima Station to the shrine. Buses also run once or twice an hour from Miyazaki, and if you choose to drive, you can take Route 220 and head south for 20 minutes to reach the Aoshima turnoff.
Once you arrive at the shrine, you will be greeted by the lush and vibrant tropical forest that surrounds it. Aoshima-jinja is located on an island about 100 meters from the mainland and is hidden within the thick foliage of the jungle. As you explore the shrine grounds, you will be immersed in a tranquil and peaceful atmosphere that is perfect for reflection and contemplation.
The shrine gate is the major attraction at Aoshima-jinja and is a popular spot for photography. Whether you choose to capture the gate from the sand, the bridge, or up close, you are guaranteed to get stunning shots. Before entering the main shrine area, it is customary to wash your hands at the dragon statues located on the left side. This act symbolizes purification and prepares you for the spiritual experience that awaits inside.
During weekends, Aoshima-jinja is particularly busy with Shinto wedding ceremonies. If you are fortunate, you might witness a bride and groom dressed in traditional Shinto regalia, adding an extra touch of cultural richness to your visit. Beyond the main shrine, there are many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered in the surrounding forest. Take a stroll to the right side of the shrine and you will find a path lined with hanging wooden blocks. These blocks are inscribed with wishes and prayers, creating a serene and contemplative atmosphere. Following this path will lead you to smaller shrines tucked away in the lush forest, offering a peaceful retreat from the bustling world outside.
While Aoshima-jinja is undoubtedly the main attraction, the island itself is also worth exploring. Take an extra 20 minutes to enjoy a leisurely walk around the entire island, and during low tide, you can even venture out to the lighthouse. The island offers breathtaking views of the ocean and surrounding landscape, providing a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Visiting Aoshima-jinja is not just about experiencing the physical beauty of the shrine and its surroundings; it is also an opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich traditions and culture of Shintoism. The shrine serves as a spiritual sanctuary, inviting visitors to connect with something greater than themselves and find solace in the peacefulness of the surroundings.
In conclusion, Aoshima-jinja is a hidden gem in Miyazaki, Japan, offering a unique and enchanting experience for visitors. From the stunning sunrise views to the captivating shrine gate and the serene forest surroundings, every aspect of this island shrine is designed to inspire awe and create a sense of tranquility. Whether you are a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply seeking a spiritual retreat, Aoshima-jinja is a destination that should not be missed. Plan your visit to this tropical island shrine and embark on a journey of beauty, serenity, and cultural immersion.
Address And Maps Location:
2-13-1 Aoshima, Miyazaki-shi, Miyazaki-ken