Kamiiso no Torii – Oarai, Japan - Atlas Obscura

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Kamiiso no Torii

Oarai, Japan

A lone torii arch stands on a coastal rock where a deity is said to have landed. 


Originally founded circa 856, Ōarai-Isosaki Shrine is dedicated to the deity Ōnamuchi-no-mikoto, one of the central figures in Japanese mythology, who is said to have once landed on a rock off the coast of Ōarai. Later, the rock was topped with a torii gate, marking the holy ground.

As the coast faces the Pacific Ocean, the torii is constantly beaten by crashing waves and greeted by the sunrise every morning, creating an incredibly photogenic scene during the golden hour. Naturally, the shrine gets quite busy on New Year’s Day, with people flocking from all across Japan to see the hatsuhinode, or the first sunlight of the year, on this magical coast.

Know Before You Go

Do not go near the torii as the surrounding area is considered as a sacred ground. The Japanese warning sign "岩に登らないでください" means "do not climb onto the rocks". Additionally, the rocks are slippery and quite dangerous, especially at high tide. Several fatal accidents happened in the past.

To get there, take Oarai Kaiyu Go (大洗回遊号) bus From Oarai Station (Kashima Rinkai Tetsudo) and get off at "Oarai Isosaki Jinja" (大洗磯前神社). It takes about 40 minutes on foot from Oarai Station. Alternatively, take No. 50 bus operated by Ibaraki Kotsu (茨城交通) bus from the north exit of Mito Station (JR) and get off at "Oarai Jinja mae" (大洗神社前). Mito Station is about 1 hour from Tokyo Station by JR Joban Line limited express, 2 hours  by JR Jobansen local service, or 1.5-2 hours by highway bus service.

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June 10, 2024

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