Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima- Hiroshima Prefecture, Honshu Island

There couldn't be a more popular place in Japan right now (except Mount Fuji) then Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island in Hiroshima Prefecture.

It literally has everything that you would ever need from an attraction.  It has beauty, history, nature, a variety of experiences and to top it off a picturesque Ferry ride from the mainland to the island, which is only a 10 minute journey but a highlight in itself.  

The island of Itsukushima, has been a holy place of Shintoism since the earliest times. The first shrine buildings here were probably erected in the 6th century. The present shrine dates from the 12th century and the harmoniously arranged buildings reveal great artistic and technical skill. The shrine plays on the contrasts in color and form between mountains and sea and illustrates the Japanese concept of scenic beauty, which combines nature and human creativity.

The name Itsukushima literally means 'island of worship' and from ancient times the island itself was worshipped as a god. The mystical Itsukushima Shrine built on the water was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 1996. A place where people have long carried out ancient rites, Itsukushima Shrine has become world renowned, attracting visitors from all over Japan and the rest of the world.

I have been to Itsukushima Shrine at least 5 or 6 times since my arrival in Japan.  It's absolutely a location that draws you in and keeps you coming back with its quintessential features and highlights.  On this day my family (my children's 1st visit) joined me for a day trip from Fukuoka.  At first they were like, do we have to come and drive that far just to see a Shrine!   But when they got on the island and saw all the amazing sights their attitude absolutely reversed full circle.  In the end, it was a effort to get them off the island as they were so into the location.

Firstly, it was the deer that got them excited.  They really enjoyed the closeness and of course the deer aren't aggressive, can be touched and petted. and generally enjoyed from up close. After that, they checked out the Shrine and its pathways which feel as though you are standing directly on top of the sea in many parts.  Once the tide had disappeared then it was off to the standing Torii gates, which just aren't massive but quite a joy and experience to walk around as well as to throw coins onto.  If you do get on on to the wooden structure, of course years and decades of good luck will be bestowed upon you!

Its been a few years now between visits but I can feel another trip to Hiroshima being on the cards.  I am sure there are many more shops and restaurants on the main street as foreign tourists now exceeds Japanese domestic numbers.  I am sure you will be as impressed as me on how amazing this location really is.

Please click here to see the Itsukushima Shrine here on a map:

Please click on these photos below to enlarge:

My daughter was doing cartwheels of excitement

Family shot

Low tide at the Shrine

Visible from all angles

Lets walk to the torii gate

Low tide

The ferry come and go all day long

Another family shot

The gate at high tide


My daughter especially loved this place

Panorama Shot

Every angle is superb

Plenty of deer to feed

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