Itsukushima Shrine - Shinto Shrine,
Island of Miyajima, Japan
Located on the island of Miyajima, which
literally means “shrine island” in Niponggo
(the Japanese native language), the
Itsukushima Shrine is famous globally for
its torii gate (a traditional Japanese
leading into a Shinto shrine) which seems to
float on water.
What is most unique about the shrine is the
fact that its torii gate was built over
water, giving it the illusion when the tide
is high of floating on water. The complex of
the shrine is made up of several buildings,
including a main hall, a prayer hall, and a
Noh theater stage, all of which are
connected by boardwalks to each other. All
of these structures are supported by columns
above the water.
The Island of Miyajima’s history as a Shinto
holy site goes way back. Mount Misen,
Miyajima’s highest peak, was a focus for
worship by locals as far back as the sixth
century. The most powerful warlord at the
tail end of Japan’s Heian Period, Taira no
Kiyomori, built the Itsukushima Shrine in
1168 as a shrine for his family and clan.
The Itsukushima Shrine is situated within a
small inlet, while its torii gate was placed
way out in the Inland Sea of Seto. Paths
were built leading around the inlet making
it easy for visitors to enjoy a walk along
Japanese Girl as you look out onto the sea.