Japanese Fishing Shrine (Umi Mamori Jizo) – Honolulu, Hawaii - Atlas Obscura

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Japanese Fishing Shrine (Umi Mamori Jizo)

A 1940's shrine dedicated to drowned fishermen on the outskirts of Honolulu.  


Overlooking the dangerous waters of the Hālona Blowhole, the Japanese Fishing Shrine, Umi Mamori Jizo, stands guard.

Composed of lava rock, the main part of the alter features Bodhisattva Jizo, an important saint of Mahayana Buddhism and the guardian of children, women, and travelers. Dating as early as the 1800s, the first-generation Japanese fishermen of Hawaii established shrines along East O’ahu beaches to protect them as they surf-cast for deep ocean fish. 

The present-day alter was built in 1940 and the image of Jizo was carved by artist Sentaro Otsubo. Priests from the Shingon Shu Japanese Buddhist temple in Honolulu held the very first blessing ceremony for the original Jizo statue. With the exception of the years during World War II, they have continued to hold annual ceremonies at the shrine. It is common to see the shrine adorned with fruit, incense, and other offerings in remembrance. 

Know Before You Go

There is very limited parking and the highway adjacent to the shrine is winding and narrow. Use caution when crossing the highway to visit the shrine. 

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July 8, 2021

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