Sumiyoshi Taisha ShrineApprox. Time: 2 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

Seafarers refer to this shrine as the deity of navigation and prayed there for safe voyages. The reason being, long ago the town of Sumiyoshi sat on the coast and it was from here that many set sail for overseas destinations. Shrines with similar names are found throughout Japan, but this one is the head. The large torii (archway) gives onto a vibrant red humpbacked bridge, the shrine's symbol mark. It so steep, some people feel unsafe crossing it, but it is beautifully reflected on the water below. The 4 shrines were built facing the sea to the west. The grounds are covered in pebbles and there can be found some 700 stone lanterns donated from across Japan. The current structures were renovated in 1808 and are designated National Treasures. Events are staged all year-round, with New Year's and summertime festivals being the main highlights.

Courtesy of Japan Tourism Board.