According to legend, this shrine, which is also known as Kotohira-gu, was founded in the 1st century. It's stood on top of Mt. Zozu ever since, protecting sailors and seafarers. Visiting requires a bit of effort; you'll have to climb 785 steps to the impressive main shrine and 583 more to the final lookout. It's also possible to travel by taxi to the upper gate, or even hire two sturdy locals to carry you up in a straw basket (look for them at the base of the mountain). The first half of the climb is crowded with souvenir shops, but after that it gets a lot more peaceful. You're able to glimpse the ocean as you climb, and the noise of the town fades away to rustling trees and birdsong. The Treasure House, on your right after you pass through the stone gate, houses masks used in Noh and Kabuki theater. The Shoin is an Edo-period hall with artifacts and screens painted by Okyo Maruyama.
892–1 Kotohira, Kotohira, 766-8501, Japan