Seifa Utaki, the sacred spot of the high priestesses

In the quiet south west corner of the island, along a curving coastline, is the place where the story of all creation, according to ancient Okinawan folklore, begins.

An ancient sacred site, and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Seifa Utaki is the spot where Amamikiyo, the all powerful goddess, came down to earth, and created the islands of the Kingdom of the Ryukyus (now known as Okinawa).

The ancient Ryukyu religion was governed by a team of high priestesses, who conducted ceremonies and rituals, with a focus on nature worship. Only women were allowed to enter the area, and it is said that even the king was not allowed to enter this area unless he dressed as a woman.

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As you walk along the path, through huge limestone formations, all is quiet, and you can almost imagine the scene of the priestesses walking through the forest towards the two giant slabs of stone, one of which has fallen onto the other to create a strange triangular tunnel, through which you can see the sea.

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It doesn’t take very long to walk through all the paths, but be sure to wear good shoes because the stones are very smooth and slippery. Also there are signs asking that people be quiet and respectful, because though it is now a tourist attraction it is still considered a sacred place.

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