Usa-jingu   宇佐神宮

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Main shrine pavilion Usa-jingû.

Il ponte Kurehashi del santuario Usa-jingu

Kurehashi bridge opened once a year.

Up there on the hill

Northwest of Beppu, the Kunisaki Peninsula is home to the most famous Shinto shrine dedicated to Hachiman, the god of war and protector of Japan.

If you are looking for shrines celebrating the glory of the legendary Emperor Ojin - the 15th emperor of Japan, who also became the god Hachiman, protector of warriors - look no further. It is here, in the prefecture of Oita, where the most prestigious Hachiman shrine is found. Usa-jingû, built in the eighth century, was the first sanctuary in the country dedicated to the god Hachiman.

A truly sacred place tucked away in the forest, travelers can walk between different site sanctuaries before reaching the summit of the hill, the honden, heart of Usa-jingû.

Two parallel buildings stand close to the imposing honden, or main lodge.  Massive and fiery red, this honden shows typical characteristics of Hachiman Zukuri architecture. In front is the Ge-in, the divine's place of residence during the day, and behind is Nai-in, its resting place at night.

The treasure of Usa-jingû contains the mikoshi, or portable shine, of the ancient guardian of the spirit of Hachiman. In 749, transportation of the shine to Nara was permitted to protect the construction of the Daibutsu of Todai-ji.

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