A shrine that has been designated as a National Important Cultural Property
On one of the islands for the Oki Islands, Okinoshima, Tamawakasu-no-mikoto Shrine is located just 5 minutes away by car from Port Saigo, the gateway into the island. In the honden main hall which was built in 1793, the deity who established the Oki Islands is enshrined. The honden which is known for its distinct Oki-zukuri architectural style including the thatched roof, the gate and the old haiden front shrine have all been designated as National Important Cultural Properties. It is the oldest shrine to have been built in the Oki-zukuri style, and it is a building that is simple yet dignified inside. The cedar tree which has been designated as a National Natural Monument is one of the 3 mighty cedars of the Oki Islands that soars to a height of 38m and is more than 2000 years old.
The Gorei-furyū Festival, one of the 3 major festivals on the Oki Islands
Every year on June 5th, the Gorei-furyū Festival is held. Known as one of the 3 major festivals on the islands, sacred horses gather from everywhere on the island and are led by several men along the sando path to the shrine to represent a heroic festival. Many people are attracted to the spectacle of yabusame (horseback archery), a procession of mikoshi portable temples and other activities during the festival.
The Moh-Moh Dome where you can view the traditional bull sumo tournament
2 kilometers away from the shrine is the Moh-Moh Dome where bull sumo is held. Bull sumo is basically a form of bullfighting that has become a famous event on the Oki Islands. Emperor Gotoba who had been exiled to the islands after losing a power struggle in the capital in 1221 enjoyed the sight of calves locking horns which gave rise to the custom. Bulls weighing as much as 1 tonne butting heads against each other are spectacular. The bouts are held periodically for tourists, and 3 times a year, there are also bull sumo competitions held.