Itsukushima Shrine   厳島神社

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Torii of Itsukushima Shrine

Torii of Itsukushima Shrine.

Noh theater in Miyajima

The complex has its own scene floating Noh.

Ema the Itsukushima Shrine

Ema of shrines Itsukushima.

Illuminations at Itsukushima Shrine

reflections crackling rhythm of the waves lull the spirit of a new magic.

The Waterfront

Leave modesty aside to enjoy all the charm of Itsukushima Shrine

This view is a classic of traditional Japanese imagination: a gigantic vermilion gate soaking its feet in the sea. This torii marks the entrance to the most sacred place on the island. Miyajima .

It is said that from the sea, its silhouette resembles that of a bird taking flight. When at high tide the waves come lapping against the stilts upon which the monument rests, it seems to float on the surface of the water, as light as a feather. The eye is then surprised to see the bright red of the architecture, navy blue and the dark green forest covering rugged terrain, mingle together. The name of the building actually comes from the name of the island, formerly called Itsukushima. But due to the success of its religious site nearby, it has become more commonly known as Miyajima, literally "the island of the sanctuary."

Beautiful Island in the sea

Once past the entrance, long thatch-covered walkways succeed each other and lead to the main hall, in the bay. At low tide, you can go down and walk on the beach, accompanied by a few deer who are curious enough to come and observe the shells.

At the foot of the torii, the visitor becomes aware of the impressive size of the construction and rediscovers the monument from the beach. Once out of the main structure, the treasure of the sanctuary can be visited. It features many works of art and objects of exceptional craftsmanship. The complex even has its own floating stage, which abandons the vermilion and shamelessly displays bare wood.

A guardian with sea legs

Since the sixth century, the island of Miyajima is a sacred place where the kami (Shinto gods) are honored. A first site dedicated to the beliefs existed at the time to honor them, and the people went there regularly in order to leave offerings. But in 1168 Taira Kiyomori (1118-1181), one of the most powerful men in Japan at that time, ordered the construction of the sanctuary to house the sutras scrolls he had copied. It was then that the Itsukushima Jinja took its current, paddling in salt water.

The architecture of the building still remains heavily influenced by the style of the end of the Heian period, a period in which this vermilion colour and the thatched roofs were commonly used. Despite numerous destructions of the building, including in 1555 to mark a military defeat and the submission of the region, it was always rebuilt identically and in its purest form. Since 1996, the site, like the dome of Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima , is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Once the flow of tourists leaves with the ferry in the late afternoon, feel free to enjoy the sunset and admire the illuminations: reflections splatterling to the rhythm of the waves sooth the mind with new magic.


The great torii of Itsukushima Shrine is one of the most recognizable places in the archipelago. Renovation work on the large gate began in June 2019. During the renovations work, the torii will be covered with scaffolding. It will remain in place until the completion of the work, scheduled for August 2020.

However, the rest of the area remains free of construction, you can still enjoy the sanctuary and its surroundings!

 The Torii of Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima is under construction.

The Torii of Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima is under construction.

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