Impressive shrine sits on godly island near Iwakuni

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

One of Japan’s three most scenic attractions, the must-see Miyajima Island is just 40-minute drive from MCAS Iwakuni.
The red-colored Itsukushima Shrine and its large torii gate built on the shore of the island are very beautiful and attract more than 4 million tourists every year.

Although most of the shrine is closed to the public, you can walk around its main deck, along the main altar and noh performance stage. And, when it is at low tide, you can walk along the sea floor right up to the gate for a close look. It’s amazing that such a gigantic gate stands firmly by its own weight with four supporting pillars.

According to legend, because the island had been worshiped as a god for centuries, the shrine could not be erected on the island. And to this day, there are no cemeteries on the island because no one is allowed to die there. Nor are folks allowed to be born there. When either time comes, it must be done on the mainland.

takiguchi.takahiro@stripes.com

Itsukushima Shrine
Hours:
Daily 6:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Address: Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Admission: Adults, 300 yen ($2.50); high school students, 200 yen; elementary and middle school students, 100 yen.
URL: www.miyajima.or.jp/english/index.html
Tel: 0829-44-2020

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