Long regarded as the Island of Gods on the clear waters of the Seto Inland Sea, Miyajima—an island just off the coast of Hiroshima—is one of the top three scenic spots in Japan which is home to the floating Itsukushima Shrine and O-Torii Gate.
Both the Itsukushima Shrine and O-Torii Gate carry religious significance to the Japanese and the former has been dedicated to the worship of the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto—Shinto god of the seas and storms. The Itsukushima Shrine and O-Torii Gate were also built over water so as to protect the purity of these religious sites.
Normally visited as a day trip from Hiroshima, a day full of adventure and discovery awaits you on Miyajima. This is one island that you must visit once in your life.
Awarded the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site since December 1996, the Itsukushima Shrine is a national treasure of Japan which spans across an area of about 280 metres and 20 buildings.
Prior to entering the Itsukushima Shrine, visitors are welcome to cleanse their hands at the Chozuya as a symbolic act of purification. All you’d have to do is to use the ladle to scoop some water from the central catchment area and pour the water over both your hands.
The Itsukushima Shrine is a splendid example of Shinden-style architecture—an architectural style used in the building of residences for nobility in the past. Take the time to explore the entire complex which comprises several halls and shrines lit by lanterns.
And just 200 metres ahead of the Itsukushima Shrine lies the O-Torii Gate, the iconic “floating” gate which many flock to Miyajima for. First constructed in 1168, the O-Torii Gate is considered the boundary between the spirit and human worlds and the vibrant vermilion colours of the gate is believed to keep evil spirits away.
Depending on the tide, visitors may have the chance to walk to the foot of the O-Torii Gate and pass through it. Otherwise, admiring it from land during high tide would be just as magical.
Admission to the Itsukushima Shrine will cost ¥300 per adult and ¥200 for high school students. Viewing of the O-Torii Gate is free.
Admission hours for the Itsukushima Shrine
01 January: 12am – 6.30pm
02 to 03 January: 6.30am – 6.30pm
04 January to end of February, 15 October 2017 to 30 November: 6.30am – 5.30pm
01 March to 14 October: 6.30am – 6pm
01 December to 31 December: 6.30am – 5pm
Itsukushima Shrine & O-Torii Gate
Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588
Tel: +81 829 44 2020
For more recommendations, read our guide on 5D4N Shikoku & Setouchi itinerary featuring 19 reasons to visit this beautiful region.