Traditional Okinawa Village and Omoro Arboretum
“Utaki” is the most important element of a village community. It is located either on top of a hill or on the mountainside, and the village community was originally formed in the surrounding area. Many of the Utakis were originally a grave of an ancestor that had created the village which later became a sacred spot, and is a place where the ancestral spirit is enshrined; the guardian deity of the village community so to speak. Among Utakis, there are places called “Ibi” surrounded by large rocks and trees which is a sacred spot where god is enshrined and where no one but priestesses are allowed to enter. Also, outside in front of the “Ibi” is an incense burner or pedestal made of stone called “Ibinumeh”. “Kami-asagi” is a place near the Utaki where the guardian deity is invited and a festival is held, which in many cases was a shanty-style building with low eaves and no walls or floor.
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