Haiden and Honden
When the original shrine was built here is unknown but the shrine has repeatedly been destroyed and rebuilt. The "honden", main shrine, that exists now was built in 1578 by high priest Munakata Ujisada, and the "haiden", worship hall, was built in 1590 by Kobayakawa Takakage, the feudal lord of Chikuzen Province. Both "honden" and "haiden" are designated Important Cultural Properties.
In most shrines "honden" is built to face south or east, but the "honden" in Hetsugū faces north-west. The approach to the shrine extends north-west and this is the direction the other 2 Munakata Taisha shrines, Okitsugū and Nakatsugū, are.
The "honden" is "Ryo-nagare-zukuri", a style of gable roof. In a regular "Nagare-zukuri", the roof only extends to the front, but in "Ryo-nagare-zukuri", the roof extends also to the rear. It was repaired in 2013, and in an beautiful red and white color.
The "haiden" is "Kirizuma-zukuri", a style of gable roof. Inside the "haiden", a replica of the pictures of the Thirty-Six Immortals of Poetry dedicated by the third-generation head of Fukuoka domain, Kuroda Mitsuyuki.
On the far end of the "haiden" a hengaku with Amaterasu-ōmikami's oracle written is held.
"Takamiya-saijō" is located on the hilltop behind Hetsugū, about a 10 minute walk. "Takamiya-saijō" is where it is told that the three Munakata Goddesses descented, and it is one of the few places an ancient ceremonial place can be seen. Today, ritual ceremonies such as Takamiya-Kannabi-sai still take place here.
"Takamiya-saijō" is located in a place called "Shimo-takamiya remains" and was recreated during the repairs in Shōwa era, considering archaeological studies. Behind the "Takamiya-saijō" there is the "Kami-takamiya remains" but it is off limits.
At "Takamiya-saijō" there is a charm that can only be received here. On this charm, you write your name and age on half of it, and break it into two, hang one half and take home the other half.
Tei-ni-gū and Tei-san-gū
In the far end of Hetsugū, there is the "Tei-ni-gū", meaning second shrine, and "Tei-san-gū", meaning third shrine. Each of them enshrine the divided spirits of Tagorihime-no-kami, enshrined in Okitsugū in the island of Okinoshima, and Tagitsuhime-no-kami, enshrined in Nakatsugū in the island of Ōshima. By worshipping here it is able to worship all three Munakata Taisha shrines.
The words written on the water bowl and the stone monuments in front of both shrines were written by Sazō Idemitsu.
The two shrines built in "Shinmei-zukuri" style were built with wood that were used in "Izanagi-no-miya" and "Izanami-no-miya" in the Ise Grand shrine until the 60th Sengū ceremony. In the repairs in 2017, the wood from the 62nd Sengū ceremony were used.
In the island of Okinoshima, where the Okitsugū is, many ancient artifacts, such as stone implements and earthenware has been found. More than 80 thousand artifacts found in Okinoshma are listed as National Treasures, and are stored in the "Shimpō-kan" in Hetsugū.
Admission fee is ￥800 for general public. Opening hours are from 9am to 4:30pm.