The stone ootorii (grand shrine gate) of this shrine for devoted believers in warei (sprit of peace) is the largest in Japan.
The 12 m-tall stone ootorii is the largest in Japan, and the shrine is also famous for a summer festival. "Warei shinko" is a belief that is a little difficult to understand, but, specifically, it is revering a person who died with a leftover grudge in order to quell his/her curse, whereby the evil existence is finally purified and changes into a guardian god, and believing in that existence.
After the bitter death of Sebe Yanbe, the chief retainer of Uwajima Clan, in 1620 due to the enemy's conspiracy, people who were caught up in his death died an unnatural death one after another due to a marine accident or lighting strikes. Therefore, Warei Shrine was built in 1653 to quiet the anger of Sebe's spirit. In the local area that centers on fishery, warei is believed in as a god that defends security in the sea and is endearingly called "Wareisama."
As may be expected of one of the largest shrines in Shikoku, a solemn main hall stands on the premises. It is also atmospheric and fun to come from the Warei Park side by crossing the river in front by a large arched bridge.
The largest festival in Uwajima, "Wareitaisai," is held on July 23rd and 24th every year to pray for a good catch of fish and an abundant harvest. During the Hashirikomi event on the night of the last day, dozens of bearers go into the water of Suka River in front of the shrine, which is illuminated by torches, while shouldering several floats and three portable shrines (quite a few people shoulder a several-meter shrine in which a model of a god is enshrined). The festival then reaches its climax.
Address: 1451 Warei-cho, Uwajima-shi, Ehime
Hours open to visitors: Anytime
Admission Fee: Free
Closed: No holiday
Directions: 10-miunte walk from Uwajima Station (4 hours and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka) of JR Yosan Line. (Car)40 minutes from Seiyouwa Interchange on the Matsuyama Expressway.