“Itsukushima-Jinja shrine”, a one of a kind in Hiroshima, mystically floating on an island in the sea.

Itsukushima Shrine is a prestigious shrine located in Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture. It is said that the shrine has about 1500 years of history. The entire island of Miyajima enshrines the god of Itsukushima Shrine, therefore, a large Torii gate stands on the sea. The shrine is also famous for its cultural assets such as Heike-nokyo, designated as a national treasure. The shrine itself was designated as world heritage site in 1996.

itsukushima jinja


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Itsukushima Shrine blending in with the nature of Miyajima.

厳島神社

Itsukushima Shrine, a famous destination among foreign tourists.

Hiroshima is one of many popular tourist destinations among foreign visitors. Miyajima is important to see when visiting Hiroshima. The red Torii gate standing on the sea might be something you’ve seen before. Today, I’d like to introduce Itsukushima Shrine.
Most of the buildings at Itsukushima Shrine stand on the sea. It looks like as if the shrine is floating on the sea when the tide is high. This scenery can’t be seen anywhere else except here in Miyajima. Why on earth is Itsukushima Shrine on the sea? Well, it’s because it enshrines the entire land of Miyajima, as its name puts. (Miyajima or宮島 literally means, the land of the shrine.)
People used to dream about a perfect land of bliss, with mountains, forests, the sea and the sky. The shrine was built in between the land and the sea to mingle with the nature of Miyajima.

The decorative shrine.

The perfect arched bridge.

No nails are used in the construction of Itsukushima Shrine.

The red shrine really looks beautiful when the tide is high. It really looks as if the shrine is floating on the sea. Contrary to its beauty, it’s vulnerable to sea winds and typhoons. In fact, it’s been damaged by natural disasters several times. To prevent this, the shrine is built in effective ways. The most surprising fact of this is that the shrine uses no nails in it’s construction, because of their high potential to rust. Each section of flooring has a gap in between the joint spaces to allow the wood to absorb water and expand. I can’t believe people, 1000 yeas ago, came up with these ideas. Amazing technology combined with nature can be only seen here at Itsukusima Shrine! It even moves you when you see the beautiful red shrine floating on the sea while thinking about the people who came up with these techniques.

Hirabutai

Hirabutai

Hirabutai, embraced by the sky and the sea.

Among the buildings at Itsukushima Shrine, Hirabutai opens towards the Torii gate on the sea and is the largest area of all. You can get a glimpse of just about everything when standing here. Hirabutai is surrounded by Mt. Misen’s beautiful green foliage, and the Inland sea will remind you of the palace for the dragon king. Enjoy the contrast of the red and white shrine nestled in green foliage.
※It’s under construction until 14th October, 2015, so you may not be able to visit this area.

The Noh-stage

The floating noh-stage can only be seen here!

I was most interested in this noh-stage that floats on the sea when the tide is high. This stage was built about 400 years ago and designated as an important cultural asset. It’s still being used as a stage today! It’s so stunning to view this floating noh-stage from the front shrine! Please take your time when touring around Itsukushima Shrine. It’ll show you many different faces throughout the day. You’ll never get bored!

Map

1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi city, Hiroshima Pref

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AUTHOR

miki iwai

miki iwai

Writer

I love Japanese traditional culture and travelling all over Japan. I also like to see Noh performances, doing calligraphy, and reading/making Japanese poems called “Tanka.” Through writing, I’d like to introduce a unique culture that only exists in Japan.

Information

Address 1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi city, Hiroshima Pref
Hours 6:30~18:00(Until 17:00 during winter)
Access 10 min by ferry from Sanin Mainline Miyajima-guchi. 15 min walk from the port.
Phone 0829-44-2020
Website http://www.miyajima-wch.jp/jp/itsukushima/index.html