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Jungle Shrine April 12, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Music, Photos.
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Last week we went to Seifa-utaki, the holiest of holy sites for one of the oldest civilizations on Okinawa. Hidden away in Nanjo City, none of its buildings still stand, but the cathedralesque foliage and rock formations are beauty enough.

If I understand correctly, this sacred area was used as the religious counterpart to Shuri Castle, home of the Ryukyu Kingdom royalty. This area was the shrine’s entrance, which only royalty could pass through.

During the Battle of Okinawa, a bomb fell at this murky pond. We saw a lady singing a hippie American song as a prayer for peace.

In another area, two pots collect holy water drops from giant stalactites, which were used to foretell the fortunes of the highest priestess and the prince.

It was pretty baffling to walk as a tourist around this centuries-old religious hub in the jungle, to see what Okinawa was like before Chinese invasion, mainland invasion, U.S. invasion. And to think, what could it be like now?

On our way out, a man at the entrance was presenting an offering of tangerines and saying a prayer at lightning speed. Please excuse the twig-broom maintenance noises:

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