Also known as Miyajima, Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社 Itsukushima-jinja) is one of the Three Views of Japan (日本三景 Nihon Sankei) along with Amanohashidate in Kyoto Prefecture and Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture. Located in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture, Itsukushima Shrine has been a staple of Japanese beauty for years, Best known for it’s Torii gate that stands in the sea (depending on the tide), the shrine is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
I got a chance to visit the beautiful shrine back in August of last year during a week long trip to Hiroshima. There are a few trains and buses in the area that will take you to the ferry in order to get to the island itself. Depending on the tide, the shrine can be seen as “floating” above the water, or standing on the sandy beach. When I first visited the shrine in 2009, the tide was low, so I was able to walk out to the Torii and the surrounding areas. This time, I managed to visit during high tide and was pleasantly surprised with how different the shrine seems just by the nature of the tide alone.
Aside from the famous Torii that sits in the bay, there is also a Noh stage near the center of the shrine. Noh theater performances were widespread in Japan to tell stories and acting out events from Shinto. The shrine itself is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o-no Mikoto. There are also residences on the island and many shops. So once you finish checking out the shrine, you can explore and even take a rope car to the top of the mountain.
Speaking of things to check out, there are a ton of deer on the island as well. Just like the rabbits on Okunoshima, the deer here are very brave and will not hesitate to walk up to your and steal your food. So please be wary of any approaching deer if you have any snacks out. During my trip here, I must have seen 3 or 4 visitors get their plastic bags ripped from their hands by deer looking for food.
Nearby, you can find Hiroshima Castle. It’s about a 15 minute walk from the station and easy to find. You can climb up to the top and check out the museum that they have inside. It’s a beautiful view and a very peaceful area to relax and take in the views. I highly recommend visiting the castle if you get a chance.
I spent about 3 days in the Hiroshima area and it was more than enough time to check out all the sites at a relaxing pace. You can check out all the pictures I took during my trip in the gallery below, or check out my Flickr Photostream.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!