Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima
The Noh Stage at Itsukushima stands in the water near the western side of the shrine. The first No stafe was constructed in 1605, and the current stage was built in 1640. This is one of the few buildings that has never been painted.
On this stage there are several events including the Peach Blossom Festival in April and a tea offering ceremony called Kenchasai.
The Western Corridor, or Nishi Kairo, is the modern-day exit for visitors to the Itsukushima Shrine, but it was once the entrance when the boat docks were situation on this side of the shrine. The corridor stretches several hundred meters from the Main Shrine to the exit, taking visitors past the Daikoku Shrine, Tenjin Shrine, and the Noh Stage on the water. This corridor is marked by a roof with Chinese-style gables. This corridor has been lengthened and shortened numerous times throughout history as the temple has been restored and rebuilt.
The Purification Hall, or Haraiden, of Itsukushima's Main Shine is a registered National Treasure of Japan. It stands at the front of the Main Shrine, facing the Great Torii Gate, in line with the gate, the main shrine and Mount Misen. The area has been used for religious festivals and religious dances. The thick slabs of wood used for the floor of this hall are smooth and well worn from frequent traffic over the centuries.
The Eastern Corridor of the Itsukushima Shrine is the main entrance for visitors. The corridor runs through Marodo Shrine to the Main Shrine, stretching well over 400 meters. This corridor makes three sharp 90 degree turns, mostly enclosing a square area of water called the Masugata, where numerous boats congregate to celebrate the annual Kangensai Festival.
The main shrine at Itsukushima was the first site established At this shrine complex in 593 by Saeki Kuramoto. Damaged by fire in 1207 and 1223, the main shrine has undergone a number of changes since its founding, but many of the current buildings of the main shrine were rebuilt by 1241.
The main shrine sits at the center of the Itsukushima complex in a straight line from the O-Torii, through the shine buildings to Mount Misen high above.
Marodo Shrine (shrine for the Guest Deity) was constructed in 1241 and has been declared a Japanese National Treasure. This shrine, called a sessha, is a secondary or auxiliary shine at the temple.
Marodo Shrine is located along the eastern corridor, near the main visitor entrance to Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine itself faces west, while the main Itsukushima Shrine faces north, otherwise they are very similar in layout and construction style.
Itsukushima Temple's Sori-bashi, meaning arched bridge, is a unique vermillion-colored and steeply arched bridge that dates back to around the 1240s AD. The bridge that stands on this site today was built in 1557, though it has been repaired and restored numerous times. Historical notes indicate that this was the Imperial Messengers' Bridge (Chokushi-bashi), used by the emperor's envoys when they brought correspondence to the temple during big festive events.
The shrine at Itsukushima is said to have been founded in 593 by a member of the powerful Saeki Clan named Saeki Kuramoto. The main shrine building was constructed in approximately 1168. The shrine was damaged by fire in 1207 and 1223 and by a typhoon in 1325. After the rebuilding in 1325, the layout of the shrine is believed to have remained as it is today. Itsukushima Shrine was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in December of 1996.
Both the shrine and its great torii gate are famous for being built over the water. When the tide is in, the temple and gate appear to be floating, and a walk around the temple feels as though you are on a boardwalk or boat docks.
Admission to the temple is 300 Yen per adult, and it is open from 6:30 am to 6 pm every day of the year.
The O-Torii Gate stands in the see about 200 meters from Itsukushima Shrine. This grand gate towers 16.8 meters tall weighs 60 tons. While it typically appears to be floating on the water, at low time, visitors can walk on sand bars out to the gate. There are small sampan-style boats that will row visitors out through the gate and into the temple.
The first O-Torii at Itsukushima Shrine was constructed in 1168. The design in use today was first constructed around 1547. The present gate is the eighth on this site and was constructed in 1875.
If you are in the Hiroshima city, you must visit Itsukushima-Jinjya in Miyajima.
It's the shrine (not a temple) with famous red torii (gate) in the water, but has lots more than just the torii.
Unfortunately, the building including the gate is not the original one. Since it was originally built in 593, it has been damaged by fires and tyhoons again and again.
However, you can still appreciate the spirit, the beauty, and the culture of this shrine.
Itsukushima shrine (UNESCO's cultural heritage site) is a most famous and large shrine in Japan. It is easy to walk through it and see main areas. But it is a shrine you need a little time to appreciate slowly. You need to wait for the high tide if you were interested in seeing the shrine completely surrounded by the sea water. If you want to see against the sunset, you have to be there when the sun is slowly setting. You can enjoy the shrine views from several angles - from the ferry, from the town side, from the interior of the shrine. I recommend you should be ready to sacrifice at least a half day to really appreciate a most important shrine in Japan.
One of Japan’s most popular attractions and one of the three Nihon Sankei or ‘Most Scenic Views’ of Japan, the great Otorii gate, is one of those ‘must see’ tourist sites when you travel in this part of Japan. The huge gate, standing at 16 metres high and weighing approx. 60 tons is made in traditional Japanese style and constructed of Japanese camphor trees. Originally constructed in 1168, the gate we see today dates from 1875.
The historic reason for the placing of the torii out in the middle of the bay, is due to the fact that originally, commoners and peasants could not set foot on the island and to even approach the island had to pass through the torii gate, which unlike most torii gates, is surrounded by water but like all other torii gates mark the passing into a sacred space or place.
At high tide, the gate appears to ‘float’ on water and this is when the torii is at its most photogenic, although at low tide it is possible to walk right up to and through the gate. Ideally it would be nice to see the gate at both low and high tide but you would obviously have to stay on the island all day to witness this or come back another day!
Walk east after arriving at the port until you reach the bay. The torii is located in the bay about 200 metres from the shrine.
Central to every visitors trip to the island of Miyajima, will be the Shrine of Itsukushima. This stunning Shinto Shrine is dedicated to the 3 daughters of Susano no Mikoto, the Shinto deity of Seas and Storms.
The beautifully preserved Shrine is suspended over the sea by wooden pillars reaching deep into the silt and sand soil. The water creeping ever closer and eventually surrounding the shrine is a special sight and one’s visit should coincide with approaching high tide if possible.
The first shrine on this site would have been built in the late 6th century, around the year 593, but over the centuries would have been rebuilt and expanded in varying styles. The present day shrine was built in the 16th century, but preserved the style of the earlier shrine built in the 12th century.
The shrine is still a working Shinto Shrine and you should show the utmost respect while visiting. If you are lucky you will hear the daily prayers and you will spot several Shinto nuns in their beautiful but simple white and orange kimono style gowns. There is an entry fee to enter the shrine... ¥300 or ¥500 with entry to Treasure Hall included.
This UNESCO World Heritage site is probably the second most visited site in Hiroshima.
It is extremely busy during the daytime, when day trippers from the mainland flood the island. Once the last ferry leaves for the night things are a lot more pleasant.
Various Temple-guards are placed around the Itsukushima Shrine, they were made of solid bronze and looking quite grim in order to prevent bad ghosts from getting into the holy shrine. Something else that is interesting to know about the architecture of temples in Asia is the fact that the tiles mostly will include a symbol for a fish on top of the house -see my last picture. Such a fish should prevent the building from burning down, because the fish is living in the water.