Okinoshima: Women are banned, men should strip naked and perform a cleansing ritual before entering this island


Okinoshima is a tiny, remote island in Japan. The island is considered sacred by Japan’s ancient religion, Shinto.

Women are prohibited from entering this island for unknown reasons. Only 200 men can visit Okinoshima once a year, on 27th May for a grand festival. Men must strip naked and perform a cleansing ritual before entering this island. You can not even leave the island without priestly permission.


Men performing cleansing ritual before entering sacred land

The reason for banning women is still a mystery. While some mention menstruation as a reason others cite safety as the journey to Okinoshima is considered dangerous.

One can not even share their experience in Okinoshima to the outside world and can not carry anything from the island back with you, not even a blade of grass.

The island has been given World Heritage status by UNESCO on July 9, 2017.

From next year no visitor will be allowed to the island. Only Shinto priests will be allowed, who will continue to perform rituals. However, academics will be allowed to land on the island for research and preservation purposes.

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image sources

  • Okinoshima: CNN
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