Hakozakigu Revisited

This is part three entry of Hakozakigu (筥崎宮)  in Chikuzen Province (current Fukuoka Prefecture). Please visit part one entry for background info.

Red torii
Why did I visit again?

It was raining when I visited for the first time and couldn't see the second and the third Torii gates.

Guide map from their HP
The God of weather blessed me this time! 

Based on their website, the Torii gates are numbered from the closest one and in April 2018 the 88-year-old-and-16-meter-tall third tori, located adjacent to stone lantern, was removed for safety reason (in case of falling apart). Instead of removing, it could have been renovated... Pity, isn't it?  

Stone lantarn
What intrigues me is that the current 3rd red Torii stands at the shore named Oshioihama (お潮井浜), which looks like entrance is wide-open to the sea for welcoming visitors from the sea. Well, that might be the case in the past when there was no subway or bus to get there. People in an ancient time used to sail by boat, I assume. Currently, the red 4th torii is in the territory of Fukuoka prefecture Shinto ministry bureau and it was not accessible when office is closed.

Red Torii
The second torii is made to imitate the first one. They look alike in shape but you have quite different impression most probably due to the color - the second one is marble-alike and the first one obsidian looking. A title “Hachimangu (八幡宮)” is written in the frame. Hachiman is a nickname of Emperor Ohjin, who, along with his mom Empress Jingu and Princess Tamayori (玉依姫), is enshrined at Hakozakigu.

The 2nd Torii
Their torii has their own characteristic features in its shape. When you take a close look at it carefully, pillars are composed of three blocks and get thicker toward the bottom. The top rail (Kasagi/笠木) is curled upward on margins. Both of top and bottom rail have the same width. Due to its unique features, their tori is called “Hakozaki torii”

The current first torii is built in 1609. When I got closer and closer to the shrine, something caught my eyes. Three flags were hang-up in front of Romon gate (cherry gate/桜門). As described in the first entry, this shrine is politically controversial sort. Two flags are familiar to me and easily recognizable but the one to the left was…. Belgium flag???

First torii
The right flag comprised of two black, yellow and red triangles is a semaphore flag of Imperial Japan Navy. It is called Z flag.

First torii and Romon gate
How come???

Controversial display at Romom Gate
There is a reason. The answer is in this entry. May 27 is the opening fire day with Russo-Japanese naval war in 1905 (Battle of Tsushima) and preparation for the ceremony was ongoing when I visited there (although it wasn’t May 27 when I was there). 

Blue sky!!!
As you already noticed, the sky was utterly blue!!!!

If you are curious about this shrine, here is an official pdf in English!!! It's very well-documented and you are strongly encouraged to check it out.

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