Sumiyoshi Shrine is much like a mini entertainment park where you can experience the ancient world.

Hi! It’s HIDE from “Bura Bura Fukuoka” .
Today, I’ll introduce Sumiyoshi Shrine, a 10-minute walk from Hakata station.
You’ll be able to enjoy various aspects from the past to the present.

2017-04-21   Travel Destinations, Fukuoka, Kyushu,

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【CONTENTS】
With more than 1800 years of history, Sumiyoshi Shrine is the ancestral origin of a nationwide network of more than 2,000 related shrines.
It enshrines sea gods and has been affectionately called “Sumiyoshi-san” since ancient times.
Touch the crease on the right palm of an ancient sumo wrestler statue!
The bent pine tree was straightened in one night!
Touch the old gold coin and share the happiness of Shiga Shrine before you purchase a lottery!
One of the greatest stages made of Japanese cypress wood in Japan, Noh Gaku Den.

With more than 1800 years of history, Sumiyoshi Shrine is the ancestral origin of a nationwide network of more than 2,000 related shrines.

When you visit Hakata, it’s always fun to relax with a cup of matcha at a tea ceremony room in the Rakusuien Japanese garden, and go shopping at the mega shopping mall, “Canal City Hakata!” I also recommend stopping by Sumiyoshi Shrine, located at the back of the Canal City.

This shrine is devoted to 住吉大神 (Sumiyoshi Ōkami: the great gods of Sumiyoshi). It is documented as an ancestral origin of a nationwide network of 2,129 related shrines in an antiquarian book, and has a history of over 1,800 years.

The main hall of this shrine exhibits the ancient Sumiyoshi architectural style, which features a straight shaped appearance and simplicity. The roof of the main hall has an ancient straight-line shape, unlike other traditional Japanese shrines that have arched/bowed shaped roofs.

The entrance shows the straight “tsuma iri” design, an architectural style where the entrance is located on the shorter side of a building. The main hall is designated as a National important cultural property.

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It enshrines sea gods and has been affectionately called “Sumiyoshi-san” since ancient times.

1800 years ago, when Empress Jingu (the wife of the fourteenth generation emperor Chuai) and her army attacked old Korea, they succeed their conquest of Korea by the providence of the great gods of Sumiyoshi. As a result of this, the great gods of Sumiyoshi have been worshipped as sea gods.

The central area of Fukuoka city at that time hadn’t been reclaimed. On an old map of Hakata, it was formed by an indentation in the shoreline. We can see Sumiyoshi Shrine at a cape on an inlet of Hakata Bay on the old map.

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Touch the crease on the right palm of an ancient sumo wrestler statue!

The shrine is also believed to give good fortune to Sumo wrestlers since ancient times. Sumo related items such as an outdoor sumo wrestling ring, and even the Asakayama sumo training stable, are located on the the shrine premises. *Asakayama (浅香山) is an ex-Ozeki Kaio, the second best sumo wrestler.

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The outdoor sumo wrestling ring
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Asakayama stable

You’ll find a muscular sumo wrestler statue standing near the main hall.

Take a look at his right palm and youll see a crease on it that looks like the Kanji letter “力”, which means power/strength. It is said that touching his right palm will bring you strength.

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The ancient sumo wrestler statue

In the past, Sumo wrestler visited “Yoshida Tsukasa Family” that was a Japanese aristocracy faminly in charge of giving Yokozuna license to Sumo Wrestlers (Grand champion). As both the family and the Sumiyoshi Shrine were located in Kyusyu island, Sumo wrestler would visit the shrine after receiving the Yokozuna license.

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The bent pine tree was straightened in one night!

On the left side of the main hall, you see the sacred, “One-night Pine Tree”.
When Shikinen Sengu (the transfer of a deity to a new shrine building once every 25 years) took place at Sumiyoshi Shrine around 570 years ago, it was decided to cut this pine tree the next day, because it hindered construction of the main hall. On the day the pine would be cut, it miraculously straightened itself out, as if it was listening to the discussion to cut it down the previous day. The pine tree leans a little now, but might straighten itself again on the next Shikinen Sengu.

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One night pine tree

Touch the old gold coin and share the happiness of Shiga Shrine before you purchase a lottery!

The branch of the Shiga shrine that has deep connection with the deity Sumiyoshi (Shiga and he are brothers) is located in the shrine premises. Near this small shrine, there is memorial stone pasted a gold coin.

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The old gold coin that shares happiness

The story is that when Mr. Shiga from Oita Prefecture purchased a public lottery after praying to Shiga Ōkami, who he reveres as the guardian deity, he won the lottery. He then contributed the old gold coin to this shrine as a token of his happiness. Before purchasing a lottery ticket, how about touching this old gold coin to boost your economic fortune?

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One of the greatest stages made of Japanese cypress wood in Japan, Noh Gaku Den.

Noh Gaku Den is on the south side of this shrine and is famous for various Noh masters who have performed on its stage. This hall was built in 1938 and is a piece of tangible cultural property of Fukuoka city.

The stage structure is constructed to maximize the acoustic effect. The theater seats has “Sajiki seats:桟敷席” that are rarely seen in modern architecture of this kind. *Sajiki seat is elevated seats on both sides of the theatre for expensive tickets like the balcony box seat in western countries.

The Japanese calligraphy on the wall facing the stage was written by Koki Hirota (1878-1948), the 32nd Prime Minister of Fukuoka Prefecture.

Noh gaku den is used for not only Noh and Kyogen plays, but also various other events such as concerts, talk shows, and Rakugo (comic story narration).

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The Sajiki seats
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The Japanese calligraphy

“Hakata machi aruki Bura Bura Fukuoka” offers historical experiences for foreign visitors in Japan, Foreign guides, arrangements for a Kimono wearing experience, and other services.
For more details, please see http://en.burabura-fukuoka.jp/
(Japanese, English, and Chinese websites are available)

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I've started the Hakata City Walk business for foreign tourists since 2015 in Fukuoka prefecture. My dream is to transmit the appeals of Fukuoka and Kyushu where richly endowed with nature, history and culture to the world.

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Information

Address 3-1-51 Sumiyoshi Hakata, Fukuoka city, Fukuoka Prefecture
Hours 9:00-17:00
Price -
Close -
Access 10-minute walk from JR line Hakata Station and Subway Hakata Station
Phone 092-291-2670
Website http://chikuzen-sumiyoshi.or.jp/(Japanese text only)