Futenma Shrine - Okinawa

I love temples! If you've travelled in mainland Japan, you would know there are temples and shrines EVERYWHERE! This is not the case in Okinawa. Last year I finally visited my first shrine in Okinawa, when we stopped in at Naminoue Shrine when we were in Naha, and after seeing some photos a friend took of Futenma shrine, I knew I needed to make the trip to see it.

The Futenma Shrine is one of the major shinto shrines in Okinawa and it is definitely worth a visit. The thing I really loved about it is how, even though it is a traditional shinto shrine, it definitely looks quite "Okinawan" to me, with the terracotta coloured roof tiles, and the Okinawan trees surrounding it. 
You should enter the shrine through the Torii gate at the front, and after walking up the stairs, go to the "purification fountain" to wash your hands. If you are unsure what to do, there is a pictorial instruction you can follow. Once you have washed your hands, you can walk up to the main hall and pray if you wish. I've heard 5 is a sucky number, so 5 and 50 yen pieces are good to use. Be sure to be quiet though, as this is a place of worship, and you should respect people there who may be meditating, praying etc.
Torii entrance

There is a little shop selling ema boards (you can write your wish on), fortunes and other charms if you wish to purchase these. Stupidly I didn't do my research before visiting, because I didn't know there were caves attached to this temple that you can enter. You simply need at ask the people at the temple, who will take you in to see them. I'll be sure to do this next time!

To make the most of your visit, there is actually a buddhist temple, Jingu-ji next door. It's also quite pretty and worth looking around.

Rachael Brennan