Most sacred place in the Ryukyu Kingdom
Surrounded by precious nature
Seifa-utaki is the historical site of a facility in Nanjo, Okinawa Prefecture, when the prefecture was called the Kingdom of Ryukyu. It is considered one of the seven sacred places said to have been built by Amamikiyo, the god for ancient spirits of the Ryukyu people. Along with Shuri Castle, it was designated as a World Heritage site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2000.
Seifa-utaki therefore was treated as the most sacred place in the Kingdom of Ryukyu and men were banned from entering it. It was managed by Kikoe no Okimi (highest female religious leader). Even the king of Ryukyu is said to have changed his attire into a woman's dress at the entry gate.
The forest around Seifa-utaki was saved from damage during World War II and so is regarded as one of the most distinguished forests in the southern part of the main Okinawa island. It is full of rare ferns and orchid plants. Many people visit utaki and places of worship as power spots that make them feel healthier and more energetic. But as they are originally extremely sacred places, visitors should respect them and refrain from taking pictures.
Address: Aza-Kudeken, Chinen, Nanjo City, Okinawa
Phone: 098-949-1899 (Midori no Yakata Seifa for experience learning about history)
Hours open to visitors: 9:00 to 18:00 (admission until 17:30)
Admission Fee: 200 yen (adults) and 100 yen (children)
Closed: Dec. 29 to Jan. 3
Directions: 30-minute car ride from Haebaruminami Interchange on the Naha Airport Expressway (1 hour from Naha Airport)