Guardian of the sea full of squids
Deeply worshiped by fishermen
About 50 km to the North of Shimane Prefecture, there is Oki Archipelago consisting of about 180 large and small islands. Many tourists from the main land visit these romantic islands with historic places and old tradition. Yurahime Shrine sits near a cove of Nishinoshima, one of the islands, and deeply worshiped as guardian of the sea by fishermen.
The enshrined goddess is Yurahime-no-mikoto. Long ago when the goddess was crossing the see in a tub and washed her hands with sea water, a squid bit her hand. Since then, a large school of squids surge to the seashore before the shrine in autumn to express their regret. From this legend, the shrine is called “Surume Daimyojin (squid guardian).” Squids swimming in the sea are depicted on the upper wall of the main hall of the shrine, an object d’art of squid is in the precinct and telephone boxes of squid-form are along the approach. Squids are everywhere in the shrine.
In every other July, local people hold a boat festival in which a boat with the goddess travels on the sea. A miniature shrine parades to the port where the boat of the goddess is tied up. When the shrine is brought onto the boat, viewers also get on the boat and the boat navigates in the cove. Fireworks are shot festively all the time and the festival come to a climax with the beautiful and dynamic scene.
- Uragou, Okinogun Nishinosimacho, Shimane
- 08514-7-8888 (Nishinoshima-cho Tourist Association)