Sumiyoshi Shrine


Sumiyoshi Shrine was built in 1655 and is famous for its summer festival. The festival has been celebrated almost continuously since it was first held in 1659, and it is one of Hagi’s two major annual festivals, which attract thousands of visitors.

Each year, some of the city’s neighborhoods are selected to run the festival by rotation. Each neighborhood provides a float, referred to as a dashi or odoriguruma (literally, “dance cart”), for the festivities. Designated carriers shoulder portable shrines through the town alongside giant lanterns, and Shinto priests stop to bless each house as they pass.

A key feature of the festival is the ofuna-uta (literally, “boat song”). The ofuna-uta is a sea shanty that has been handed down through oral tradition, and traditionally it was sung when the lords of Chōshū domain embarked on a nautical expedition. Originally, non-samurai were forbidden from singing it, but today men who live in Hamasaki are selected to perform ofuna-uta throughout the festival. The song is an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The four main kami deities enshrined here at Sumiyoshi Shrine are known collectively as the Sumiyoshi Ōkami, or the “Great Kami of Sumiyoshi,” and are dedicated to the protection of fishermen, sailors, and those who do battle on the seas.

In the shrine’s main hall there is a beautiful panel painting of a phoenix and a rising sun. Beside it, there is a photograph from 1912 of the battleship Satsuma. At the time of its launching, it had the largest displacement of any battleship in the world.

(This English-language text was created by the Japan Tourism Agency. )

Basic info

Access 7-minute walk from Ofunagura Iriguchi Bus stop (Hagi Junkan Māru Bus Eastbound)
Phone 0838-22-0849
Address 240 Hamasaki, Hagi, Yamaguchi