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Belief of Okinawa

Okinawa's traditional religion is nature and ancestor worship. It is generally called NIRAIKANAI. It was the state religion in the age of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The Ryukyu Kingdom adopted the unity of church and state.


The Niraikanai religion did not use idol worship. The Niraikanai religion prayed at a place which Okinawan people called “Utaki”, that is natural holy ground. The spiritual leader is the “Noro” and leads all of the rituals of the Niraikanai religion.
The “Noro” is a woman.
She is made holy because she has spiritual force. There are“Utaki”everywhere in Okinawa.

The Utaki near my high school


The Niraikanai religion was thought to have come from the basis of the Shinto religion of the Japanese mainland.
The Niraikanai religion and the Shinto religion of the Japanese mainland have many things in common.
The Shinto religion became widespread in Okinawa after World War II.
At the time the Ryukyu Kingdom unified the church and state, there were eight protected Shinto style shrines