Hello, this is _hiroyuki.ta. This time, I took a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Oarai Isosaki Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. Oarai Isosaki Shrine is a historic shrine that sits on a hill on a cape facing the Pacific Ocean, and is famous for its spectacular view of the torii gate floating in the sea. This time, we will introduce its charm, how to access it, and information on motorcycle parking.
What is Oarai Isosaki Shrine?
Oarai Isosaki Shrine is a Shikinai shrine (Meishin Taisha), and its former status is Kokuhei Chusha. Currently, it is a separate shrine of the Shrine Headquarters. The main deity enshrined is Onamuchi no Mikoto, who is said to be responsible for building the nation. It is also another name for Okuninushi no Mikoto, and is also considered to be Daikokuten, the Seven Lucky Gods. The deity enshrined here is Sukunahikona no Mikoto, who is said to have built the country along with Ōmi Takamikoto.
The construction of Oarai Isosaki Shrine dates back to 856. At that time, a salt worker saw something shining in the sea, and the next day two strange stones appeared on the beach. The next day, more than 20 pebbles appeared like samurai sitting around the monster stone. The monster stone was brightly colored and looked like a monk. After that, a divine spirit said to a man, “I am Onabochi, Shohikona no Mikoto.A long time ago, after I finished building this country, I left for the eastern sea, but now I have returned again to save the people.” ” was the oracle. This is the founding legend of Oarai Isosaki Shrine and Sakaretsu Isosaki Shrine (Hitachinaka City).
It was devastated by wars in the Middle Ages, but was rebuilt in the early modern period by Mitsukuni Tokugawa and Tsunajo, the lord of the Mito domain. The main shrine, worship hall, and Zuishinmon gate were built in 1690 and are designated as cultural assets of Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture. In addition, the “Kamiiso Torii” built on the coast is also famous for the first sunrise of the year.
Route to Oarai Isosaki Shrine
This time, I took the Shuto Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line from central Tokyo, via the Joban Expressway, Kita-Kanto Expressway, and Higashi-Mito Road, and got off at the Mito-Oarai IC. From Mito Oarai IC, it took about 15 minutes to reach Oarai Isosaki Shrine using National Route 51 and Prefectural Route 2.
It took a long time to get from the Metropolitan Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line to the Joban Expressway due to heavy traffic, but after getting on the Joban Expressway it was a comfortable ride. On the way, I got lost at the Tomobe JCT where it branched off to the Kita-Kanto Expressway, but I followed the signs towards Hitachinaka/Oarai and chose the left lane. The Kita-Kanto Expressway was relatively empty, and the scenery was pleasant, with views of the countryside and mountains.
From Mito Oarai IC, take National Route 51 towards Oarai Port Ferry. On the way, as we entered the city of Oarai, the traffic increased, but there were few traffic lights and we were able to drive smoothly. Turn left at the entrance of Oarai Station onto Prefectural Route 2, then turn left at Oarai Torii-shita and enter Prefectural Route 173, and you will soon see the torii gate of Oarai Isosaki Shrine.
Highlights of Oarai Isosaki Shrine
The highlight of Oarai Isosaki Shrine is the “Kamiiso Torii” floating in the sea. This torii gate was built on a rocky reef that is said to be the place where the enshrined deity descended, and its appearance changes depending on the ebb and flow of the tide. At high tide, it sinks into the sea, and at low tide, a rocky area appears. The contrast between the sea, sky, and torii gate is beautiful, making it a photogenic spot. The view is especially spectacular at sunset and the first sunrise of the year.
Near the torii gate is the Kamiiso Observation Deck. From here, you can see not only the torii but also the Pacific Ocean and Oarai Port. From the observation deck, you can take steps down to the coast, but be careful. The stairs are steep and slippery, and the coast is dangerous with high waves. To enjoy the area safely, please be sure to obey the no trespassing and warning signs.
When you enter the precincts, you will see the main shrine, worship hall, and Zuishinmon gate. The main hall is Ikkensha Nagaru-zukuri with a thatched roof, and the worship hall is a gabled structure with 5 girders, 2 beams, and 1 gable. The Zuishinmon gate is a three-room, one-door Karahafu-zukuri structure with carvings on the top. These buildings were built by Mitsukuni Tokugawa Tsunajo, the lord of the Mito domain, and are designated as cultural assets of Oarai Town, Ibaraki Prefecture.
In addition to the main shrine, worship hall, and Zuishinmon gate, there are other shrines and monuments within the grounds. Sessusue Shrine enshrines Amaterasu Omikami and Kuraina Tama no Mikoto. Monuments include the loyal soul monument of the light cruiser
Naka'' and the Kiyoshi Shrine of Obata Yuen.Naka” is a ship that sank during the Pacific War, and “Kiyoshi Shrine” was built to appease the spirit of Obata Yuen, who had an unfortunate death.
Motorcycle parking lot at Oarai Isosaki Shrine
The motorcycle parking lot at Oarai Isosaki Shrine is located in front of the shrine. There is a separate parking lot for regular cars and a parking lot for motorcycles. The parking lot for motorcycles is located to the right of the parking lot for regular cars, and there is space for about 20 cars. Parking is free.
The parking lot for motorcycles is paved and flat. Also, when the wind is strong, make sure to secure your bike to prevent it from tipping over. From the parking lot, it is about a 1-minute walk to the shrine entrance.
This time, I took a motorcycle tour from central Tokyo to Oarai Isosaki Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture. Oarai Isosaki Shrine is a shrine whose highlights include a torii gate floating on the sea and historic buildings. If you are traveling by motorcycle, we recommend taking the Shuto Expressway No. 6 Mukojima Line via the Joban Expressway, Kita-Kanto Expressway, and Higashi-Mito Road, then exiting at the Mito-Oarai IC. Parking for motorbikes is also available free of charge.
Oarai Isosaki Shrine is a wonderful spot where you can feel the power of the sea, sky, and gods. Please come and visit us at least once. Well then, it was _hiroyuki.ta.
(English translation: Oarai Isosaki Shrine)