Located in downtown Honolulu is one of the few Shinto shrines in the United States. This wooden A-frame structure was inspired by the classical Japanese shrine Izumo Taisha in Japan’s Shimane Prefecture. Designed by architect Hego Fuchino and built by master carpenter Ichisaburo Takata; it is fitted together without nails like one enormous puzzle.
The primary god of this temple is Okuninushi who deals in love, happiness, marriage and agriculture. Ritual is important here. Visitors should wash their hands at the edge of the temple grounds in a physical and spiritual cleansing before pulling a thick rope that sounds a muffled brass bell- alerting the spirits that the mission has visitors. At the entrance, bow twice, clap twice, then bow again and offer coins into the box. Many people visit the shrine to purchase omamori: amulets often sold at religious sites that are said to provide various forms of luck or protection.
Honolulu and Hiroshima have been sister cities since June 15, 1959, and Hiroshima was Honolulu’s first sister city. The relationship between the two cities grew from the “People to People Program” established by President Eisenhower in the 1950s to promote peace and mutual understanding between citizens in various countries.
Each year, Hiroshima sends an official delegation to the cross-cultural Honolulu Festival. In 1985 the Prefecture of Hiroshima presented Honolulu with the Hiroshima Peace Bell. This bell is housed on the grounds of the mission.