Izumo Taisha Shrine

Izumo, Japan

Izumo Taisha is believed by many to be the oldest shrine in Japan; it is so old, at any rate, that the actual date of its founding is not known. Most of its current buildings, though, are 19th century or later. The shrine has been restored at least 26 times, most recently in 2013. It is dedicated to Okuninushi, the ruling deity of Izumo; a legend says that the shrine was presented to him by the sun goddess Amaterasu. Another legend says that each November, all 8 million Shinto gods leave the rest of the country in order to come here and visit the shrine.

A modern sculpture of Okuninushi, located on the grounds of the shrine, is shown here.