situated near hiroshima, itsukushima shinto shrine (itsukushima-jinja 厳島神社) is on miya-jima island (宮島). the main draw to the site is the torii (鳥居), a shrine archway, that was built in the ocean so that at high tide it appears to float in the sea.
regarded as a holy island, miya-jima literally means shrine island. the shrine along with the torii were built on the water in the 12th century to honor three goddesses. in ancient times the average japanese was not allowed to set foot on miya-jima because of its holy status. those that were allowed would travel to the island by boat during high tide and pass underneath the torii.
typhoons and the elements have repeatedly damaged the shrine, but it has been rebuilt or restored every time. this UNESCO world heritage site is a short train ride away from hiroshima. so if you are visiting the atomic dome and peace park, take the time to visit this beautiful location. make sure to ride the cable car to the top of the mountain as well for some incredible 360 degree views of the island and the sea surrounding it.
from hiroshima station take the JR train for 400 yen to miya-jima guchi station (宮島口駅). you can also take the hiroshima dentetsu (広島電鉄) from its hiroshima station to the last stop, hiroden-miya-jima-guchi station (広電宮島口駅) for 270 yen, but it will take about twice as long. at either station ask for the combination ticket to get on the ferry as well. this will save you a little bit of money (170 yen separately).
the ferry ride across. make certain to get on the right side of the boat and up to the second level. that way you will have a good visibility of the torii as the boat approaches the island.
looking out over the water.
a look at the torii from far away.
another shot, but closer.
the shops lining up the walk thoroughfare from the dock to itsukushima shrine. the local specialties are oysters and sweets with red bean in the inside. i suggest trying both, as they are very tasty.
getting closer to the shrine. :)
up and personal with the torii.
just past the entrance to itsuku-shima shrine. adult admission is 300 yen.
looking at the stage and out towards the front of the shrine.
a shot of the torii with the shrine in the foreground.
front of the shrine.
another shot, but a little bit towards the right.
looking back in the opposite direction. the two buildings in the background are not part of the UNESCO world heritage site, but they are near by, so go visit them. ;) more photos at the end of this article.
just the torii with the main island, honshu, in the background.
the stage where traditional noh and kabuki theater are performed on special occasions. as you can see, the tide was going out.
when the tide is out. you can walk out to the torii. you will see many people digging for oysters.
as mentioned earlier, near the shrine is a pagoda on the hill. it is not part of itsuku-shima shrine, but it is next to it so pay it a visit.
looking up at the pagoda.
senjokaku, the hall of 1,000 tatami mats. it’s not its full intended size, as it was never finished.
some of the artwork in the hall.
if you take the cable car to the top, which i recommend, you will be greeted to the following vistas.
if you walk the path all the way to the top from the station, you will have an even better view!
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