A visit to the shrine island of Miyajima : Itsukushima Shrine

Miyajima means “Shrine-Island” rightly called so for its famous Itsukushima Shinto Shrine in the city of Hatsu Kaichi in Hiroshima prefecture of Japan.

It was erected probably in 6th century, destroyed many time and finally established in the mid of 16th century It was considered as holy site of Shinto. Misen, the highest peak of Island was worshiped by local people as early as 6th century. In 1168 Taira no Kiyomori, the most powerful man in Japan during the end of the Heian period, selected this island and made and took the shrine as his clan family shrine.

The shrine was designed and built on pier-like structures over the bay so that it would appear to be floating on the water, separate from the sacred island, which could be approached by the devout. The shrine complex consists pf multiples structures including a prayer hall, a main hall and a Noh theater stage, connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea.

Floating Torii of Itsukushima Shrine

Tori Gate

Shrine is dedicated to the various deities for sea, storm and sun, It is common practice for the visitor to pay homage, place coins at the gate tori and make a wish which they believe to be fulfilled, collecting shells which are even used in miso soup by some Japanese.No death and birth ceremonies are performed near the Shrine and even too elderly, sick and full term pregnant women are not allowed to to enter the Shrine.

After the sunset the Shrine and Tori are illuminated, providing a perfect backdrop for Ryokan guest to enjoy an evening walk in Yukata and Geta It is not allowed to enter the shrine after sunset but the tourists can view the illuminated island from boat cruises. It is more picturesque at the time of high tide as it seems Shrine and Tori is floating on the sea.

moonlight over itsukushima shrine



Access to the island:

Miyajima is about 37 minutes from Hiroshima station. The ride includes taking the Sanyo line from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi and then a ferry from Miyajimaguchi to the Miyajima island which takes about 10 mins.

Alternatively, if you would like to take the tram from Hiroshima bound for Miyajimaguchi. The tram ride is exiting and passes much of countryside area on its way to destination.

Entrance to the shrine costs 300 yen (500 yen for combined entry to the Treasure Hall)


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  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm Reply

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