Oarai Isosaki-jinja Shrine
The shrine with a torii gate on a reef washed by raging waves was rebuilt by a samurai hero "Mito Komon"
The historic shrine established in 856 enshrines a deity of medicine who bestows happiness and good match. The shrine building was lost in a war from 1558 to 1570 but rebuilt in 1690 by patrons including Tokugawa Mitsukuni who is loved as Mito Komon by Japanese people. The shrine is designated as cultural property by Ibaraki Prefecture.
The shrine has three torii gates at separate locations. Make sure to visit Kamiiso-no-torii on the coast. The gate stands on an island rock in the sea near the Oarai coast. Splash from waves hitting the rock washes the torii repeatedly. Because the coast and the torii face east, the rising sun seen from the spot has a mystical atmosphere fusing natural beauty and religiosity. Many tourists visit the place to see the torii rather than the main hall.
Ichi-no-torii towering up as if straddling a prefectural road is a huge ferroconcrete structure that is 15.60m high and 22.42 m wide. Originally the torii marked the entrance to the grounds of the shrine. Climb the steps behind Ni-no-torii single-mindedly and you will see the shrine buildings. Both main shrine and front shrine are nicely antique-looking and there are stone statues of frogs (messenger of the deity) instead of usual komainu guardian dogs. The place commands a great view. Overlooking the sea, you can imagine why people built the shrine at this mysterious place at a time when there was no road or building.
Address: 6890 Isohama-cho, Oarai-machi, Ibaraki
Hours open to visitors: 6:00-17:00
Admission Fee: free admission to the grounds
Directions: 30 minutes by Ibaraki Kotsu Bus for Aqua World/Oarai from JR Joban Line Mito Station (1 hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station) to Oarai-jinja-mae and a short walk