Munakata Taisha is a shrine located in Munakata city, Fukuoka prefecture. It is the head shrine of more than 6000 Munakata shrines and Itsukushima shrines around Japan. Munakata Taisha consists of 3 shrines, the Hetsugū located on the main land of Kyūshū, the Nakatsugū located on the island of Ōshima, and the Okitsugū located on the island of Okinoshima. Especially, the entire island of Okinoshima is a part of Munakata Taisha, and has been regarded as sacred a sacred island. The island has been strictly off limits, and many ancient artifacts has been found on the island.
Since Munakata Taisha has been located in the key point of traffic between Kyūshū and the continent, the three Munakata goddesses enshrined in the shrine has been believed to provide protection for all kinds of traffic. In old times marine traffic, and in modern times motor traffic too.
Hetsugū is the main shrine of Munakata Taisha located on the main land of Kyūshū. It is located about 3km from the coastline and enshrines Ichikishimahime-no-kami, one of the three Munakata goddesses. It is unknown when the shrine was built here but it is said that there already was a shrine here in the 12th century.
Behind the Hetsugū, there is the Takamiya-saijō, the remains of an ancient ceremonial place from when ritual ceremonies were held at outdoor. This spot is also told to be the place where the three Munakata goddesses descend to earth. At Takamiya-saijō, traces of ritual ceremonies similar to what was found at Okinoshima and Ōshima have been found.