Munakata Shrine, world heritage site

Congratulations! This summer Munakata Shrine and other related spots were enlisted as UNESCO world heritage sites. They have ancient history, more than 1000 years. Munakata shrine is so familiar to me and I often visited there ever since I was a baby. I’ve been promoting Munakata-is-the-best-place-in-the-world campaign all by myself for a long time, and I can’t be happier!


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If people hear the word “Munakata”, they associate it with Munakata shrine. It has a museum in the premises which exhibits ancient potteries and other valuable treasures that came from Iran or other countries in 400A.D. or before that.


The other day, my husband and I climbed up a hill back side of the shrine called Takamiya. It was an ancient prayer sanctuary.





Since beginning of the history, people felt they are surrounded by something great, something bigger than human beings. And they gave prayers to the existence. It is a great mystery and much stronger than modern invention of science. I, myself is a Christian and I don’t believe in Shintoism or Animism. However, I respect that strong drive that we humble ourself and give honor to something primitive and something extraordinary.

古代より人は己よりも何か大きな存在=something great を身近に感じ、祈りを捧げて来ました。それは近年の発明品である科学よりももっと確かに存在するものとして、そこにあり続けた神秘の存在だと思います。私自身はクリスチャンでありアニミズムや神道は信奉していませんが、人間が何か根源的なものに対して深く畏敬の念を抱き頭を垂れる情動は、決して軽々しく否定できるようなものではないと信じています。

Okinoshima island, that is preserved as a holy place don’t allow women to go on is a origin of Munakata shrine and it’s a bit far from Munakata shrine. In the island, there is a restriction that you can never bring back even a stick nor a grass nor a pebble. In the Takamiya hill, I picked up a small stone from the ground. But I recalled the saying and put it back.




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