A legendary sanctuary revived from the South Sea TakegashimaA legendary sanctuary revived from the South Sea Takegashima

Welcome to Takegashima!

Takegashima Island is located on the coast of Kaiyo Town at the southernmost tip of Tokushima Prefecture. Along with a port that serves as the base for tuna fishing, it is known as an island where fishing is the pillar of the islander’s livelihoods. Takegashima Marine Park also offers various leisure services such as sea kayaks and sea walks in underwater sightseeing boats on the island. The island also has a designated walking path called Shikoku-no-Michi, or Shikoku Road. At the top of the mountain are the ruins of the Wolf Smoke Tower, where people can take in the view of the Pacific Ocean.

A legendary sanctuary revived from the South Sea

Takegashima is located off the coast of Kaiyo Town at the southernmost tip of Tokushima Prefecture, and it is a small island in Muroto Anan Kaigan Quasi-National Park. Since it is connected by a short bridge of about 100 meters, you can easily come and go as if it were connected to the land. The size of the island is about 1 km from north to south and 700 m from east to west, and the area is about 0.4 km2. The circumference of the island is about 4 km, and the surrounding waters are known to be home to colonies of ishi corals. The island has a port that serves as a base for tuna fishing, and fishing is the pillar of the islanders' livelihood. In addition, the northwestern area is designated for the Takegashima Marine Park and Marine Jam which are operated by Kaiyo Town. These park centers offer various services related to marine leisure activities such as sea kayaks and underwater walks by sightseeing boats with underwater glass windows.

The Gods have been enshrined at Takegashima Shrine since ancient times

Built on the stairs in front of the fishing port of Takegashima, deities such as Kunitokotachi no Mikoto are enshrined and are worshipped as the guardian deities of great fishing and maritime safety. The Underwater Mikoshi Festival held at the Takegashima Shrine in May every year is famous for the mikoshi being carried out on the backs of young people from the shrine grounds while everyone shouts "Cho, Saja", and from there they go down the stairs to the seaside towards the eastern bank. Then, as they enter the sea and walk through the shallow waters, the young people celebrate with a large crowd around a rocky area that serves as the inner shrine of the main Takegashima Shrine since it is there that the gods are believed to dwell.

The Tradition of the Underwater Mikoshi

Today, depopulation in Takegashima is progressing to the point where there are not enough young people to carry the mikoshi during the festival season, making it difficult to continue the Underwater Mikoshi Festival. Unfortunately, in 2017, the Underwater Mikoshi event was canceled. The background of the venerable underwater mikoshi of Takegashima must have been started due to an amazing event that happened long ago. This is why there are people who carry the heavy mikoshi even into the cold sea so that they can cherish and worship the gods. This tradition continues to be passed down through generations to this day, so I hope everyone can take a trip to Takegashima to experience its many charms.