Nearest station: Shiritsu-Byoin-Mae Line:Okinawa Urban Monorail
This is the nineteenth of my ex post facto shrine reports. I visited Sueyoshi-Gū in April 2005.
A historical note. Okinawa is the largest of the islands in the Ryūkyū isand chain to the south of Japan and while the Kingdom of Ryūkyū was nominally independent from 1429 to 1879 it was under Japanese suzerainty from 1629 and was incorporated into Japan as Okinawa Prefecture in 1879.
According to a volume of the Ryūkyū KokuYuraiki published in 1713, Sueyoshi-Gū was founded sometime between 1450 and 1457. It is one of the Eight Ryūkyū Shrines (琉球八社): these were given preferential treatment by the Ryūkyū government.
During the reign of the sixth monarch of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, Shō Taikyū(尚泰久), a priest affiliated with a Buddhist Rinzai
Kami enshrined elsewhere
and worshipped here
Annual Festival: November 23
sect temple, Tenkai-ji, (天界寺), Kakuō Oshō(鶴翁和尚), went on a trip to Yamato. While there he apparently turned in thedirection of Kumano and vowed to make a pilgrimage there once he had completed his spiritual training. On returning to Tenkai-ji he did complete his training and became the temple’s chief priest. With his vow very much in mind he entreated Shō Taikyū to allow him to visit Yamato again but permission was not granted and several subsequent requests were also refused.
One night however he had a dream in which someone appeared to him and told him that if he really wanted to fulfil his vow he should go to a mountain to the north of where he currently was and call out in a loud voice. A spiritual presence would respond to him. He, the bringer of the dream, was Kumano Kongen. On awakening from the dream Kakuo hurried to a mountain peak to the north and shouted out. His voice reverberated around one particular spot, Kikusengan (崎嶇嶃岩) on the mountain in front of him. On closer examination he could find no signs of human habitation: what he did find was a mask of a devil and he was sure he was walking on sacred ground. When Kakuo reported his experience to the king it turned out that he too had had a similar dream and, scornful of the idea that it might be pure coincidence, decreed the construction of a shrine on the site. Later, when Kakuo was walking in the area he found a mirror, and as it was emitting what he took to be a divine light he had it enshrined at the new jinja.
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