At the heart of Miyajima Island, Japan’s most iconic shrine gate awaits curious travelers.
By the time you arrive at the iridescent Miyajima Island, the bright vermillion torii of Japan should have become a usual sight. But the one crowning this small island is the most picturesque of them all. It is seemingly floating on water as a gate to the UNESCO-listed shrine Itsukushima-jinja. The Torii Gate is believed to have been built in the 12th century—almost six centuries later than the original shrine. The head of the Heike clan reconstructed Itsukushima-jinja and designed it as a pier in harmony with old traditions.
The shrine’s religious significance as a former Shinto sanctuary is still an appeal to believers. It reveals some of the enigmatic features of the structure’s architecture. A symbol of purity on its own, the shrine remained out of sight for commoners, and no death or birth marked its land. It was thus constructed on the water to allow only the most dedicated worshippers to pass. Now dominated by the cycles of the tide, the shrine appears as a floating palace when the water rises with its brilliant gate curiously detached from itself. Although it becomes much harder to access, this version is more appreciated by travelers who wish to capture the iconic shot of the Torii Gate with its stark reflection on the water. For even better views, taking a short cable car trip on Mt Misen is highly rewarding.
Miyajima Island Gallery
Tours visiting the Miyajima Island
Highlights of Japan