Located in the beautiful island of Miyajima, Itsukushima shrine (A World Heritage Site) is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, dating back to 593 AD. Ever since then, the main shrine building has undergone many changes until it became the shrine we see today. Since ancient times, the Japanese worshipped Miyajima island itself as a collection of goddesses. The main shrine was built by Taira no Kiyomori during the Heike period. Ever since then the shrine increased in popularity. Even the emperor and the imperial court made many visits. The shrine was damaged many times by fires and typhoons but was repaired and rebuilt as well. In 1325, the shrine took a layout which is similar to its modern form.
Statue of Tairano Kiyomori
Taira no Kiyomori incorporated the Shinden style architecture into the shrine. The Shinden style architecture was a popular style of architecture used only for the residences of nobles. Even the imperial palace in Kyoto uses the Shinden style.The shrine is built on the sea with the foundation posts underwater. This was probably done for one of many possible reasons: It could have been an attempt to mimic the legendary Dragon Palace or it could be because the enshrined goddess is the goddess of the sea or it could be because of the Buddhist belief that the dead pass on to the next world by boat.
One of the most iconic structures of the shrine is the “O-torii” or gate seemingly floating in front of the shrine. It is 16.8 m tall and incorporates the Ryobu-torii (a wooden Shinto gate supprted by four pillars).
Some of the other notable structures include the “Taka-butai” or high stage where a dance called “Bugaku” is performed, the “floating” Noh stage, the Kagami-no-ike (mirror pond) and the “Sori-bashi” or arched bridge.
You can also find a lot of deer here.They walk freely throughout the island.
You can easily encounter one!
Please enjoy the mysterious beauty and tranquility of Itsukushima shrine!
By JR Train:
・Tokyo Sta.(Nozomi Shinkansen) —(It takes 4 hours,18.040JPY)—Hiroshima Sta.
・Shin Osaka Sta.(Nozomi Shinkansen)—(It takes 1hours 30min,9.710JPY)—Hiroshima Sta.
About 30 minutes from JR Hiroshima Station to JR Miyajimaguchi Station on the Sanyō Honsen Line. Walk to the ferry port. About 10 minutes from Miyajimaguchi Port to Miyajima Island by ferry.