Japan Travel Guide - Let's go to Japan!
HOME > Hiroshima Prefecture > Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima)

Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima)

Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima)Map of Miyajima islandItsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Itsukushima island.
Itsukushima is the formal name, and the popular name is Miyajima.

Miyajima island is at the west part of Hiroshima Bay, and is located about 20 km southwest of Hiroshima city.
It is about 10 km long and about 4 km wide, and there is a narrow channel within 2 km wide between the long northwest coast and the mainland.
Itsukushima Shrine is at the north part of the coast.

Since ancient times, Miyajima had been worshipped as a god.
It is said that the original shrine was built in 593 in this island.
The current unique and gorgeous shrine was built around 1168 by Kiyomori Taira (1118-1181), a strong warlord.
In the 1560s, Motonari Moori (1497-1571), a good ruler in Hiroshima area, repaired this shrine on a large scale.

This shrine features the wooden buildings on the sea.
The place of this shrine is in a cove with a great tidal range.

There is the Great Torii Gate (Ootorii) about 16 meters high at the entrance of the cove.
It is a wooden construction in the sea. So it has been rebuilt eight times for about 1,400 years, and the current Ootorii was rebuilt in 1875.

The main shrine is positioned at about 250 meters back of Ootorii.
The entrance of the shrine is on the seaside, and we can reach the main shrine by walking on the wooden corridors.
All of the buildings and corridors of this shrine are in the cove, so they are over the surface of the sea when the tide comes. The total length of the corridors is 275 meters.
In front of the main shrine, a wide space for ceremony and a stage for Shinto music and dance are set up.

The bottom of the cove appears at low tide, so we can reach Ootorii on foot at that time.
After the tide comes in, all buildings are on the sea.
It comes as something of a surprise that the people in the 12th century constructed such unique and adventurous buildings.

Of course, because this wooden shrine is on the sea, it is prone to natural disasters such as typhoon, high tide.
Whenever this shrine suffered from such disasters, many people believing this shrine have repaired and restored.

We can visit this island by ferry from mainland.
From the pier to the entrance of the shrine, there is the approach about 800 meters long along the coast.
Around the approach, there are many souvenir shops.
On the streets, there are several deer.

About 5 km south of the shrine, there is Mount Misen (535 meters high).
We can visit near the top of the mountain by ropeway.
Itsukushima Shrine and the old growth forests around Mount Misen are designated a World Heritage Site.

In this island, there is an old town only around Itsukushima Shrine.
But this island is the sacred land since ancient times, so it differs from the common town.
There is no tomb. Because "death" is a taboo word in front of gods.
There is no farm land. Because cultivating the sacred land is also a taboo.

There are a few buildings belonging to Itsukushima Shrine near the shrine.
Senjokaku is a uncompleted temple. Hideyoshi Toyotomi who united Japan ordered to built in 1587, but the construction was stopped in 1598 because of his death.
Five-story Pagoda built in 1407 and Two-story Pagoda built in 1523 are the constructions in the period when the shrine had embraced Buddhism.

In the town, there are several Buddhist temples.
Daisho-in founded in 806 and Daiganji rebuilt in the 1200s are the main temples.

Miyajima Tourist Association official website
Official Website of Miyajima Tourism

How to get to here

By railroad

  1. By local train on JR San'yo Line, about 25 minutes from Hiroshima to Miyajima-guchi.
    Or, by street car of Hiroshima-Dentetsu Line (Hiroden), about 1 hour from central Hiroshima to Hiroden-Miyajima terminal station.
  2. By ferry, about 10 minutes to Miyajima. The ferry is operated frequently.
    From each railroad station to the pier, a few minutes walk.

Itsukushoma Shrine
Itsukushima Shrine at low tide
Ferry to Miyajima Deer in Miyajima
Entrance of shrine Corridors on the sea
Photo by Railstation.net
Main shrine and Stage for ceremony Inside of main shrine
Soribashi bridge Noh Stage
Photo by Railstation.net
Ootorii Five-story Pagoda
Photo by Railstation.net
Senjokaku A souvenir shop
Old town in Miyajima Daishi-in temple

Copyright © travel-around-japan.com. All Rights Reserved.
Sponsored Links

Spots in Hiroshima Prefecture

Genbaku Dome
Peace Memorial Park
Peace Memorial Museum
Okonomiyaki buildings
Hiroshima Castle

Shimanami Kaido