Only men are allowed to visit this island

(ORDO NEWS) — Surprisingly, in such a progressive and developed country as Japan, there are still strict religious taboos. And on the territory of Okinoshima there is one of them – a ban on visiting the island by women.

The UNESCO Advisory Committee adopted a recommendation to include the Japanese island of Okinoshima, a religious center in Fukuoka Prefecture in the southwest of the country, into the list of protected historical sites.

At one time, about 80,000 different artifacts were discovered on the island, including many souvenirs brought from overseas: beads, rings, mirrors, swords and fragments of glass goblets. All of these items have been declared national treasures.

Okinoshima is located between the Korean Peninsula and Kyushu, the third largest island in Japan. There is the Okitsu Shrine, which belongs to the Munakata Taisha group of great Shinto shrines.

Since ancient times, Okinoshima has been the center of numerous rites and rituals: they prayed for the safe navigation of ocean-going ships and for successful contacts with the “barbarians” – the inhabitants of the neighboring Korean Peninsula and China.

The island worships Tagori Hime-no-kami, the Shinto goddess of the sea. There is a mention of it in one of the first written monuments of Japan – “Nihon shoki” (from Japanese – “Annals of Japan recorded with a brush”). Okinoshima is considered such a sacred place that the monks to this day forbid women from visiting it.

Only men are allowed to visit this island 2

But even men get to the island is not so easy. Firstly, you can come there only once a year, on May 27 – on this day a religious festival is held on the island, dedicated to “calming the spirits of Japanese and Russian military personnel who died during the naval battle on the Sea of ​​Japan near Okinoshima in 1905.” Secondly, there is a restriction on this day: only 200 men can visit the island at the same time.

Those Japanese who are lucky enough to take part in the festival, before setting foot on the road leading to the Okitsu temple, must undress and perform a ritual of purification in the sea.

The men must not tell anyone the details of their trip, and furthermore, they are forbidden to take anything out of the island, be it a plucked flower or even a blade of grass.

For the rest of the year, the only inhabitants of the island are a few monks guarding Okitsu.

Unfortunately, such isolation from people did not benefit the island: the land was “captured” by rats that killed a huge number of local birds. However, the abbots of the temple are not going to change the rules:

“We will not open the island to the public even if it is listed as a UNESCO heritage site, because people should not visit Okinoshima out of curiosity,” says Takayuki Ashizu, head sacred of the Munakata shrine group.


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