Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima
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.
Marodoharaiden ("Purification Hall") is the largest building of the shrine and to a very large part of it there is access for the tourists and from there you may watch some ceremonies or take a look at the donations that were given to the temply by local companies.
You have to pay a small amount of money to enter the temple and they you simply follow the crowds.
Otorii is the name of the famous red gate of Itsukushima Shrine and it is one of the 3 most scenic spots in Japan. We had been there in winter, and the water was high, while in low tide you will be able to walk directely to that gate. In my opinion it looks better when surrounded by water and it is hard to believe how many people are going to Miyajima every day,so it will be hard to find the perfect place to take a photo of this gate.
The holy island of Miyajima has been worshipped as a god since more than 1400 years. In the year 593 the origins of Itsukushima Shrine was built and many other shrines and temples followed and nowadays Miyajima even became a UNESCO world cultural heritage site. The buildings of Itsukushima Shrine, that you see nowadys were constructed in 1168.
The gate of Itsukushima Shrine is become one of the best view of Japan.
In summer, the seashore will be dried, so you can walk until the gate.
The shrine itself is beautiful.... especially in autumn with deers and colorful leaves.
Miyajima (literally "shrine island") has been celebrated as a sacred island and one of Japan's three most scenic views. It is famous for Itsukushima Shrine, which, together with its large wooden torii (gate), stands in the ocean during high tide.Deer move around the island freely, and so do monkeys on top of Misen, the island's highest mountain.
Itsukushima Shrine gave Miyajima its name ("shrine island"). The shrine, which is partially constructed over water and features the famous floating torii gate, was first constructed in the 6th century. It later became the shrine of the most powerful local clan.
One should try to go to the island at high-tide, when the famous Torii seems to float over the sea.
i arrived there at 4:50pm and it was low tide. the tori was dry up.. and i was able to walk towards the tori, and touch this old old (although was touched up) architecture. All the tourists were gone, and there was 1 family playing there and trying to get some crabs..
There are deers walking around peacefully. And There was this man who brought food and prayed at one of the legs of the Tori. he prayed hard, squarting down, head down and for quite some time.
This shinto shrine gate or torii, is probably the most photographed sight on Miyajima island. Well here you have my photos of it. This gate is 16 metres tall and standing in water (during low tide it's in mud). It's made of camphor wood which is lasting and water resistant. It was originally built in water because the island was so holy that nobody was allowed to set foot and walk there.
They've traditionally renewed it every 100 years, approximately, so now would be about time to do that. But however, it's difficult to find large enough trees nowadays. And, moreover, all the big trees are protected! Must grow trees especially for this purpose. Wonder how long it takes for a camphor tree to grow so big? I guess about 100 years...
Built over water as a pier like structure, this is an extremely holy shinto shrine founded about 1400 years ago and still used for various religious rites today. It's also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reason why it was built in water was the holiness of the island. When nobody was allowed to set foot and walk on the island, the gate and shrine had to be built in water. But it's in water during high tide only.
When I visited, there was a Swedish-Japanese wedding about to start. Interesting...
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Itsukushima is an unusual shrine built on the water. The current form is over 800 years old. The gate, which appears far from shore at high tide, indicates the former holy status of the entire island. The day we visited there was a wedding which was pretty cool.