Utaki


【 CONTENTS 】

Sefa Utaki's statue

Utaki

What is Sefa Utaki?

Sefa-utaki is in Nangi city, Okinawa. Utaki is a sacred space that surrounds the Nansei Islands. Sefa-utaki is said to be the holiest and most important sacred place in Ryukyu Kingdom. During the period of Ryukyu Kingdom, “sacred sand” from the land of God, Kudakajima, was brought in and prepared as the foundation for Utaki’s national events. Sefa-utaki is still worshipped by many people as a place for a pilgrimage.

Utaki

Jars

Pay your respect when entering Sefa-utaki.

Sefa Utaki used to ban the males from entering, because of its worship of women. Even the King of Ryukyu kingdom had to disguise himself as woman when entering Utaki. The number of visitors has increased recently due to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. However, you need to keep in mind that this sacred place is not just a tourist destination, it is a place to pray. When visiting, please try to dress somewhat formal, and be modest.

Entrance

First off, you introduce yourself to the six substituted sacred places at the entrance!

As soon as you enter the approach, you will find 6 pieces of substitute stones from sacred places in the Utaki. Entering the Utaki means entering the holy district where God lives, so you need to introduce yourself in front of it. When introducing yourself, it’s better to speak up your surname, and by doing so, you can bring your ancestors to the Utaki.

kikoeokami

Utaki

sefa_08

The Ryukyu Kingdom’s holy being, Kikoe Okimi.

The first sacred place you’ll see is Ufu-guui, where large stones are firmly enshrined. At this locale, Miko pay tribute to Kikoe Okimi, the highest-ranking shaman in the Onari religion, in hopes for prosperity for the Ryukyu Kingdom. Kikoe Okimi has been worshipped as a guardian to protect the King and the land with her spiritual power. She was very important during religious services. You might feel something spiritual at the Sefa-utaki, where the spiritual shaman used to hold rituals.

Map

Kudeken Chinen Nanjō-shi, Okinawa-ken

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AUTHOR

Wasabi

Wasabi

Writer / Translator

I’m a freelance translator from Tokyo who likes to travel right in the middle of the unpredictables in life. Through the translation of articles I hope to create points of contact between Japan and the rest of the world. As a writer, I want to add information that isn’t in the guide book, from a “wasabi” perspective!

Website

Information

Address Kudeken Chinen Nanjō-shi, Okinawa-ken
Hours 9:00-18:00 (Last entry 17:30)
Access 10 min walk from Sefa Utaki mae-bus stop
Phone 098-949-1899
Website http://www.city.nanjo.okinawa.jp/tourism/2011/11/sefa.html