Kudaka Island

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  • Japanese: 久高島 (Kudaka jima)

Kudakajima is a sacred island located a short distance to the east of Okinawa Island. According to the Omoro sôshi and other songs and legends of the Ryukyuan religion, Kudaka was where the creation goddess Amamikyo first came down to earth, before crossing over to Okinawa Island at Sefa utaki. Prayers and rites for the protection of the kingdom, and with other meanings, were historically performed regularly on the island, or facing the island at sites such as Sefa utaki; Urasoe gusuku, Sui gusuku, and Nakagusuku gusuku also had sacred spaces from which priestesses and others could face east (Okinawan: agari) towards Kudaka, the sea (nirai kanai), and the rising sun, as they performed prayers or rituals.[1]

Much of Kudaka was restricted in the premodern period to the noro priestesses associated with the royal court, and many areas remain off-limits to the public today, due to their sacredness. The king was one of the only men permitted to enter many of these sacred spaces historically, and even then did so only accompanied by priestesses who provided him spiritual protection.


  • Takara Kurayoshi 高良倉吉, "Kami no shima o sasaeta otokotachi no ashiato o mitsuketa" 「神の島を支えた男たちの足跡を見つけた」, Coralway magazine, Jan/Feb 2020, 36-39.
  1. Gregory Smits, Maritime Ryukyu, University of Hawaii Press (2019), 128-129.
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