Shisa For Youth Prosperity And Fortune
Nise-ishi of Kogusuku (Yaese) - Information


Okinawa.Org Staff
Dec 26, 2018
You can throw a pebble in Okinawa and it will land almost anywhere with something to great to do, but, that's most likely a bar in most cases. However, the more I explore Okinawa and farther out of the city I go, the more I'm finding it to be true to run across dedicated historical sites or some spots that raise questions. This is because in some areas there are no markings, indications on what something can be, or look as if any humans have stepped foot there for a while.

That happened to be the case of tangible folklore cultural property, the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku, except I forgot to throw my pebble when passing by @Rob Oechsle's Okinawa pin drop of Kogusuku Observatory the last time that I drove through Yaese.

Typically, I'll zoom in on Google Maps when I go to a place in order to create a jumping-off point exploration itinerary. However, for whatever reason, this shisa didn't show up on my map the first time and I continued on my journey elsewhere.

It wasn't until I passed by the Observatory on my way somewhere else, on another day, that a random spot popped up. It was in Japanese and I had some time to kill, so I chose to make a quick stop to check it out.

It turned out that this was a shisa! I love Okinawa history and the folklore around shisa here.

A straight on view of the Nise-ishi Of Kogusuku shisa in Yaese, Okinawa

And enjoyed seeing this shisa in particular as it's for young men. I'm only 32, but this should still apply to me too, right? Maybe I'll have good fortune one day because of this stop, as one can only wish.

A little history on the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku

Nise-ishi Of Kogusuku Sign said:

The Nise-ishi is a tutelary spirit intended to bring fortune to young men (nise). The stone figure assumes the shape of a Chinese mythological lion griffin, known in Okinawa as "Shisa."

Who built this is unknown.

Village elders say that young men of the village did indeed thrive after the Nise-ishi was put up. Okinawan shisa are generally considered to perform the functions of tutelary deities in warding away fire and evil spirits, but this Nise-ishi is an particularly unusual example of a shisa intended to bring prosperity to youth.

Even today, whenever there is a ceremony involving youths, officials and young men from the village come to pay their respects at the Nise-ishi
If you walk the surrounding area of the shisa, you can see some shrines and whatnot scattered about.

Shrines scattered about the site where the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku rests

But if you head on back behind the shisa, as it looks like there's something else important there, you'll just run into a newer family tomb. Though, you'll get a backside view of the Observatory too. Yet, since it's cleared and looks maintained, maybe there's something there and I missed it—if you stop by the shisa and find anything else, let me know!

A clearing/trail back behind the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku

The Google Maps GPS voice directions, as you can't handhold a phone anymore, are horrible at letting you know where to turn to get to the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku in Yaese. If you passed the wooden torii by a long shot, with or without the large wooden doors open or closed, you've gone too far.

A wooden torii, that may or may not have its doors open or closed, near the turn to see Nise-ishi of Kogusuku in Yaese

Turn around and take the roadway up the 1-lane road.

The shisa will be shortly up the road on the right with a nice stairwell leading to it. Notice directly to the left of the stairwell there is a fairly large parking area; this is a private parking lot of a house so it would be wise not to obstruct it or park in it on your visit there.

Stairway to see the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku Private parking lot and house to the left of the stairs

To ensure you got a good parking spot, drive up the road a little farther—not more than 50 meters after it wraps to the left—and park in one of these three parking spots instead, walking back to the stairs (I believe this parking lot is the one pinned in the map below). You might get away with parking on the roadway closer to the shisa, as it does widen, but I'm not positive if I saw a no parking sign on my visit there or not. So, better safe than sorry.

Parking lot to access the Nise-ishi of Kogusuku in Yaese (by foot) without having trouble with the neighborhood and/or police

Then head up and enjoy!

The Nise-ishi of Kogusuku standing tall in the high-noon sun

The view is great from here too, even though it's not that high in comparison to the nearby Observatory.
The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of Okinawa.Org.
Japan, Okinawa, Yaese, 字小城10 小城のニーセー石(石獅子)

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