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Recommended Shrines to Pray for a Prosperous 2024 in Okinawa (January 1-15, 2024)

prayers in Japanese temple

Are you planning to start your 2024 with a memorable experience in Okinawa? I’ve got just the guide for you! Here’s a list of some amazing shrines where you can make your New Year’s prayers and wishes. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these spots are perfect to soak in the unique spirit of Okinawa.

Introduction to the Praying Process at a Japanese Shrine

Before we dive into the list of shrines, let’s quickly go over how to pray at a Japanese shrine. It’s a simple but profound process that adds to the cultural experience. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Purification at the Chozuya

Begin by cleansing your hands and mouth at the water basin near the shrine entrance to purify yourself.

2. Offering at the Saisen Box

Approach the offering box (saisenbako), toss in a small offering (like a coin), and show your respect.

3.Two Bows, Two Claps, and One Bow

Bow deeply twice, clap your hands twice near your chest, then pray silently for a few moments, and finish with one more deep bow.

4.Ring the Bell (if available)

If there’s a bell, give it a gentle ring to summon the deity and signal your presence.

5. Contemplate and Exit

Take a moment to reflect and then leave the area quietly, giving space for others to pray.

Now that you know the basics of shrine etiquette, let’s explore some of Okinawa’s most revered shrines for a meaningful start to 2024! 🌸🙏🏯

1. Okinawa Prefecture Gokoku Shrine (Naha City) 🏮

Okinawa Prefecture Gokoku Shrine (Naha City)

This shrine, deeply rooted in history, honors the spirits of Okinawan soldiers and civilians. It’s a special place during the New Year, with hundreds of lanterns creating a serene atmosphere. There are also plenty of stalls offering lucky charms and amulets.

  • Address: 44 Okinawa Prefecture, Naha City, Onoyama [ Google Pin ]
  • Visiting Time: Open all day
  • Special Prayer Reception: January 1-3, 2024 (8 AM – 8 PM), January 6-10 (8:30 AM – 6 PM), and January 11 (9:30 AM – 4 PM)
  • Parking: Available for free

2. Naminoue Shrine (Naha City) 🌊

Naminoue Shrine (Naha City)

Perched above Naminoue Beach, this shrine offers a beautiful view of the sea. Replace the usual Komainu with Okinawa’s Shisa for a unique cultural twist. It’s a peaceful spot to welcome the new year.

  • Address: 1-25-11, Wakasa, Naha City, Okinawa Prefecture [ Google Pin ]
  • Visiting Time: Open all day
  • Offerings Time: December 31, 2023 & January 1, 2024 (Midnight – 8 PM), January 2-3 (7 AM – 8 PM)
  • Parking: Available for free (Note: Parking is not available during New Year, use nearby paid parking)

3. Futenma Shrine (Ginowan City) 🏯

Futenma Shrine (Ginowan City), Okinawa

Known for its red roofs and white walls, this shrine offers a mystical experience with an inner sanctuary inside a cave. It’s a blend of tranquility and mystery, ideal for making your New Year prayers.

  • Address: 1-27-10 Futenma, Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture [ Google Pin ]
  • Visiting Time: Open all day
  • Prayer Reception: 9:30 AM – 5 PM
  • Parking: No parking inside during the first three days of New Year; free shuttle service available from JA Parking

4. Okinawa Naritasan Fukusenji (Nakagusuku Village) 🌅

Okinawa Naritasan Fukusenji (Nakagusuku Village)

For those who love witnessing the first sunrise, this is the place to be! It’s a popular spot for its scenic views and is also known for traffic safety prayers.

  • Address: 617 Isha-do, Nakagusuku Village, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture [ Google Pin ]
  • Visiting Time: Open all day
  • Prayer Reception: January 1, 2024 (8 AM – Evening)
  • Parking: Available

Don’t For Get A Token of the God’s Power On The Way Out

In Japanese temples, visitors often buy various lucky charms known as “omamori,” which are believed to provide protection and bring good fortune. Five common types of omamori that you might find at a Japanese temple are:

  1. Health Omamori (健康守 – Kenkō-mamori): These are intended to protect the bearer’s health and are often sought by those who are ill or seeking to maintain good health.
  2. Safety and Protection Omamori (交通安全 – Kōtsū Anzen):: Aimed at providing safety for travelers, these charms are popular among those who are about to embark on a journey or wish for protection in their daily commutes.
  3. Academic Success Omamori (合格守 – Gōkaku-mamori):: Often purchased by students or their families, these charms are believed to aid in academic endeavors and success in exams.
  4. Love and Relationships Omamori (縁結び – Enmusubi): These are intended to attract or maintain love and healthy relationships. They are popular among those seeking a romantic partner or wanting to strengthen their existing relationships.
  5. Business Success Omamori (商売繁盛 – Shōbai Hanjō):: Sought by professionals and business owners, these charms are believed to bring prosperity, success in business, and good luck in financial matters.
  6. Safe Childbirth Omamori (安産守 – Anzan-mamori): This charm is specifically aimed at ensuring the safety and health of both the mother and child during pregnancy and childbirth. It is typically inscribed with the kanji “安産” (anzan), which translates to “safe childbirth.” Expectant mothers, or their loved ones, often acquire this omamori from temples to seek divine protection and blessings for a smooth and safe delivery.

Each omamori is typically enclosed in a small bag, and it’s considered disrespectful to open it, as it’s believed to diminish its effectiveness. They are often attached to bags, mobile phones, or hung in cars.

So, there you have it, fans! A guide to some of Okinawa’s best shrines to visit for the New Year. Whether you’re seeking blessings for safety, love, or just a peaceful start to the year, these places have got you covered. Remember to check the official pages for any updates or changes in timings.

Happy travels and may your 2024 be filled with joy and prosperity! 🎉🙏

⚠️ Disclaimer

The information provided in this website is for general informational purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, we cannot guarantee the completeness, reliability, or accuracy of the content. Travel information, including but not limited to attractions, accommodations, and transportation, may change over time.

It is important for readers to independently verify the details and do their own research when planning their visit to the destinations mentioned in this article. This includes checking the latest travel advisories, confirming operating hours, and making reservations in advance.

We do not assume any liability for any loss or inconvenience caused by reliance on the information provided in this blog. Travelers are encouraged to exercise their own judgment and take necessary precautions while exploring new places.