A scenic blend of Shinto tradition and natural beauty, home to the venerable Itsukushima Shrine

Photo of Miyajima, Japan (厳島神社 大鳥居 by Richard, enjoy my life!)

Miyajima, also known officially as Itsukushima, is an island off the coast of Hiroshima, famed for its Shinto shrine and torii gate that appear to float on water at high tide. This island’s cultural landscape, blending natural and spiritual elements, attracts visitors from around the world.

About Miyajima

Miyajima’s history is deeply connected to the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Established in the 6th century, the shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto, the Shinto god of seas and storms. The current structures mainly date back to the 12th century, following the most significant reconstruction by Taira no Kiyomori in 1168. The iconic “floating” Miyajima O-Torii gate, a celebrated image of Japan, was designed to create the illusion that the shrine exists separately from the mundane world.

The island’s cultural significance includes its status as a holy site within Shintoism. It has long been held that gods resided on Miyajima, making it a sacred space where the human and divine realms converge. This belief led to a tradition that discouraged births and deaths on the island to maintain its purity.

Miyajima has experienced periods of prosperity and decline throughout its history. The Itsukushima Shrine has undergone several reconstructions due to fires and natural disasters. The island thrived as a popular pilgrimage destination during the Edo period, contributing to its cultural development.

Today, Miyajima is a tourist destination, offering sites like the Itsukushima Shrine and the Daisho-in Temple, an important Buddhist temple founded in 806. The island’s autumn foliage and free-roaming sika deer add to its appeal.

Visitors can also ascend Mount Misen for Seto Inland Sea views and explore ancient forests and sacred sites. The local cuisine, including oysters and momiji manju, provides a taste of regional flavors.

A visit to Miyajima is not complete without seeing the torii gate at both high and low tides. Exploring the backstreets can lead to quaint shops and a sense of the island’s historical tranquility. Miyajima is also renowned for its woodwork and shamoji, traditional rice scoops.

Miyajima preserves its cultural heritage and natural environment, providing a space for contemplation and discovery amidst its scenery.

Upcoming Events what's happening around Miyajima

🌸 Cherry Blossom Predictions
Thursday, 21 March - Saturday, 13 April 2024 (predicted)

Cherry blossoms (sakura) started blooming in Hiroshima on March 25, 2024, and are expected to reach their peak around April 1, 2024. In the Kansai region, including Kyoto and Himeji, blossoms are expected to start around March 28, 2024, with Osaka and Nara following shortly after, beginning on March 31 and March 30, respectively.

Petals typically fall within about 1 week of the full bloom unless the weather causes them to drop earlier.

For more information, see our complete Cherry Blossom Predictions 2024 guide.

Updated 29 Mar 2024
Event listings are sourced from public information, and may be incorrect or outdated. Always consult the official website for full details.

Around Miyajima

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