In Okinawa, there are many sacred places, “Utaki”, where rituals are held for gods and ancestors. One of them is the world heritage “Sefa Utaki” (Holiest Sites on Okinawa) in Nanjo City. What kind of place is the sacred place “Sefa Utaki” that is worshiped by many people today?
“Sefa Utaki” is located in Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture, about 45 minutes by car from Naha Airport. In 2000, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site as “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu”. It is the highest holy place in the Ryukyu Kingdom that is said to have been created by the Amamikiyo god of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
When it comes to world cultural heritage, many people think of glittering buildings. Or you tend to think of something special, such as a spectacular landscape. But Sefa Utaki doesn’t have any special buildings. There are only mysterious plants and minerals.
When visiting Sefa Utaki, it is important to know that it is a sacred place and take a quiet sightseeing tour. I mentioned earlier that Sefa Utaki doesn’t have any particular buildings or facilities, but that doesn’t mean it’s a highlight.
Sefa Utaki isn’t just about the mysterious atmosphere. Listen to the sounds you hear when you visit Sefa Utaki. If you listen to Sefa Utaki, you will hear various sounds. The sounds of trees that flutter in the wind and the voices of birds are often missed if you are not conscious.
When you are traveling with friends, you tend to be crazy about chatting, but when you visit Sefa Utaki, listen to the sounds of nature, not chatting.
If the day is not so crowded, you may want to close your eyes and focus on the sound. You can hear the sound of the wind on a windy day and the rain on a rainy day. If you relax with your whole body, you can enjoy the sound in a calmer mood. With mysterious Utaki, if you focus your attention on the sound, you can get a feeling that you can’t feel just by looking. At Sefa Utaki, not only walk around but also enjoy the sounds you hear.
Sefa Utaki has 6 sanctuaries. Of particular note is Sangui. There are two huge rocks in Sangui. The rocks are not only big, they look like they support each other. Sefa Utaki has a superb view spot where you can see Kudakajima Island. This is Sefa Utaki’s main attraction, so be sure to stop by.
Kudakajima is a remote island called the island of God. When viewed from Sefa Utaki, the atmosphere is more mysterious. In front of this superb view spot is the aforementioned Sangui. Let’s watch it carefully because there is a big rock.
“Utaki” is the sanctuary where God resides.
In Okinawa there are many places called “sacred places”, but “Sefa Utaki” (Holiest Sites on Okinawa) is a representative of them in particular. “Utaki” is the sanctuary where God resides. “Sefa Utaki” is one of the “Utaki” which was created by Amamikiyo, the god who created Ryukyu (now Okinawa Prefecture), and is still an important place many people come to pray. When visiting here, let ‘s try action quietly refraining.
Sefa Utaki is regarded as a sanctuary for its rich forest. There is a god area in various places, and quiet air like time stops flowing from the moment you enter one step into the forest. It is a place you want to enjoy commemorative photography in memories of the trip, but taking a picture against “Uganju” (a place of worship) to devote prayer is a violation of manner. Let’s keep memories of the trip in the album of the mind.
Sefa Utaki does not have any special buildings. There is only a mysterious atmosphere space, plants, and minerals. If you do not understand this and visit in the same way as visiting other tourist attractions, you tend to have the impression that “there was nothing”. Sefa Utaki is only a sacred place. It is a place registered as a World cultural heritage, but do not forget that.
For Utaki, guidance boards that explain the history and rituals for each point are prepared, but if you want to know more deeply, guide tours are recommended. You can participate in guided tour with 300 yen per person.
In Sefa Utaki, it is advisable to take a leisurely walk with a leeway in the schedule. The journey takes about 60 to 90 minutes. Please feel the sanctuary that the people of Okinawa cherished carefully with your mind and body.
The holiest site of Okinawa
There are many sacred places called “Utaki” in Okinawa.
Among them, Sefa Utaki is considered to be one of the holiest sites of Okinawa.
It is registered as the World Heritage Site in 2000.
The Ryukyu Dynasty period
Sefa Utaki is a sacred place representing Okinawa where national sacred rites have been performed in the the Ryukyu Dynasty period. The faith continues ceaselessly and is protected carefully even now as “sacred space”.
The place men are forbidden
Originally, here was a place from which men are forbidden, so it is said that even the King of Ryukyu changed into clothes for woman when he entered this sanctuary.
Feel a sign of God
Seeing the quiet space where trees verdant with young leaves, the wind blow occasionally, the sunlight pleasantly coming from the gap of the green leaf, those makes you feel even a sign of God. It is located on the hill, so you can see the Kudaka-Jima known as an island of God in the east.
Most popular in Sefa Utaki
It is triangular-shaped cave the “Sangui” to be the most popular in Sefa Utaki.
This cave seemed to be caused by an earthquake, a gap in the earth in 15.000 years ago. The solar light that breaks through the depths of the cave create fantastic atmospheres, It becomes the mysterious space.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Name:||Sefa Utaki (Holiest Sites on Okinawa)|
|Adresse:||Chinenkudeken Nanjo, Okinawa 901-1511 Japan|
|Access:||Naha Airport (60 minutes by car)|
|Tel:||(+81) 98-946-8817 (Jonan-city Tourism Association)|
|Price/Charge:||300 yen (Adult)|
150 yen (Under 15 years old)
Please refer the official web page.