Itsukushima Shrine and The Great Torii

Just 45 minutes by streetcar from Hiroshima city, and a short ferry ride across Hiroshima Bay, lies one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Japan – Itsukushima island, also known as Miyajima, the Shrine Island.  Famous for its dense forests and ancient temples, it is also home to Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) and its iconic Great Torii gate Otorii, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site.

The Great Torii.

Established as early as the 12th century, this Shinto shrine is constructed on pier-like structures so as to appear to be floating on the water, separate from the island itself. During high tide, the Great Torii appears suspended on the water, the most recognizable and celebrated feature of the shrine. At low tide, the gate is approachable by foot for a closer look.

Most visitors head to Miyajima for a short day trip, but staying overnight allows you wander the island when all the crowds have left, and also lets you experience this beautiful shrine at low and high tides, and a under variety of lighting conditions. It’s little wonder that the Itsukushima is one of the Three Views of Japan, an official list of the country’s most celebrated scenic sites first selected in 1643.

Itsukushima Shrine.

Horse stables near the entrance.

The gate and shrine is partially submerged during high tide.

Lanterns at the shrine.

A traditional wedding held at the shrine.

Prayer hall.

Part of the shrine complex and span bridge.

Boardwalks and columns are raised above water, giving the impression of a floating structure.

A stage for traditional Noh theatre performances.

The Otorii at dusk and low tide.

The gate is accessible by foot during low tide.

Itsukushima Shrine at low tide.

The Great Torii lit up in the evening, with the tide returning…

…and the main shrine complex too.

At night, a perfect time to experience the calm of Miyajima island.

Location Map

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