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Floating gates on a sacred island

The bright orange Great Torii Gates of this floating shrine set against a green island makes for one of Japan’s best views.


Discover Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island, officially named Itsukushima, is a popular tourist destination located just one hour outside of Hiroshima, Japan. It is renowned for its remarkable natural beauty and is part of the Seto National Park. The island is often referred to as Miyajima, meaning Shrine Island, due to the presence of the famous Itsukushima Shrine.

At the center of Miyajima Island lies Mount Misen, a sacred mountain covered in lush green primeval forests. It offers breathtaking views of the island and the Seto Inland Sea. Visitors can explore Momijidani Park, situated at the foot of Mount Misen, which is known for its stunning maple tree valleys. During the appropriate season, over 200 maple trees create a vibrant display of orange and red hues. Another way to appreciate the natural beauty is by taking the ropeway bridge across Mount Misen, which provides unparalleled views of the Japanese landscape.

One of the main attractions on Miyajima Island is the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. This Shinto shrine was constructed in the 6th century and holds great significance. The shrine is particularly famous for its bright-orange o-torii gates that appear to float on water when the tide is high, creating a mystical atmosphere. The belief that the island itself is a goddess led to the selection of the shrine’s location in the sea. The Itsukushima Shrine complex consists of two main buildings and 17 secondary buildings, showcasing sophisticated architecture. The Grand Torii gates, standing at an impressive 16.8 meters, are a sight to behold, especially when their reflection is visible in the water. If you’re lucky and the timing is right, you may even spot deer passing by in the shallows, as they freely roam around the island.

Aside from the Itsukushima Shrine, there are other notable temples worth visiting on Miyajima Island. Daiganji Temple is dedicated to Benzaiten, the goddess of eloquence, music, and wealth. Daisho-in, a complex of temples located on Mount Misen, is also worth exploring. Within Daisho-in, visitors can marvel at an eternal flame that has been burning since the temple’s establishment over 1200 years ago, adding to the spiritual ambiance of the place.

Other temples are well worth visiting including the Daiganji Temple, which is dedicated to Benzaiten, the goddess of eloquence, music, and wealth. Visit Daisho-in, a complex of temples on Mount Misen, to admire an eternal flame that is said to have been burning since the temple’s inception, over 1200 years ago. 

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