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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Chugoku - Miyajima
Itsukushima Shrine 
# 1   of 7 most visited
sights in Miyajima

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  tours  -  links

Itsukushima Shrine at high tide

The centuries-old Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社, Itsukushima Jinja) on Miyajima is the source of both the island's fame and its name. Formally named Itsukushima, the island is more popularly known as "Miyajima", literally "shrine island" in Japanese, thanks to its star attraction. The shrine is known worldwide for its iconic "floating" torii gate.

The shrine and its torii gate are unique for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide. The shrine complex consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall, a main hall and a noh theater stage, which are connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea.

Purification trough at the shrine's entrance
View of the floating torii gate from the shrine

Miyajima Island has a long history as a holy site of Shinto. The island's highest peak, Mount Misen, was worshiped by local people as early as the 6th century. In 1168, Taira no Kiyomori, the most powerful man in Japan during the end of the Heian Period, selected the island as the site of his clan's family shrine and built Itsukushima Shrine.

The shrine is located in a small inlet, while the torii gate is set out in the Seto Inland Sea. Paths lead around the inlet, and visitors enjoy walking along them while looking out onto the sea. After sunset, the shrine and the torii gate are illuminated, providing a perfect backdrop for ryokan guests to enjoy an evening walk in yukata and geta sandals. It is not possible to enter the shrine after sunset, though.

Itsukushima Shrine at night

Alternatively, tourists can view the illuminated island from boat cruises. Cruises last thirty minutes and take passengers around the bay and through the torii gate (during high tide only). Reservations are required and can be made through one's ryokan or at the tourist information desk.

Because the experience of Itsukushima Shrine involves the water over which it is built, it is good to be aware of the timings of the tides during one's visit. At high tide the shrine and its gate appear to float above the water, and this is certainly the time at which they are most picturesque. At low tide, the water drains out of the bay. This is when visitors can take the opportunity to walk out and see the gate from up close.

The torii gate at low tide

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Itsukushima Shrine is a ten minute walk from the Miyajima ferry pier.

How to get to and around Miyajima

Hours and Fees
Hours:6:30 to 18:00 (closing time changes depending on season)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:300 yen (500 yen for combined entry with Treasure Hall)

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Hotels and Ryokan
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Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto
17th century sukiya style Japanese hotel built in the Edo Period. With private open air baths with view of Itsukushima Shrine torii.

Tours and Packages
Hiroshima and Miyajima Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Hiroshima and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Itsukushima Shrine:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of the best  
User Rating (by 889 users):
94/100
  highly recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 787):
11.  Nyuto Onsen (Hachimantai)   95/100
12.  Kiyomizudera (Kyoto)   95/100
13.  Kanto Festival (Akita)   95/100
14.  Iriomote Island (Yaeyama Islands)   94/100
15.  Around the Island (Yakushima)   94/100
16.  Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima)   94/100
17.  Osorezan (Shimokita Hanto)   94/100
18.  Yakusugi Land (Yakushima)   94/100
19.  Ogimachi Village (Shirakawa-go)   94/100
20.  Takayama Festival (Takayama)   94/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
36.  Arashiyama (Kyoto)   1776
37.  Himeji Castle (Himeji)   1763
38.  Marunouchi (Tokyo)   1730
39.  Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto)   1681
40.  Tokyo Dome City (Tokyo)   1589
41.  Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima)   1571
42.  Minato Mirai (Yokohama)   1571
43.  Ryoanji Temple (Kyoto)   1561
44.  Hiroshima Downtown (Hiroshima)   1554
45.  Heian Shrine (Kyoto)   1553

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

English Links
Tide Prediction: Itsukushima, Hiroshima (WWW Tide and Current Predictor)
Tide prediction for Miyajima.
Information about Itsukushima Shrine
Hatsukaichi City Tourism Division's official English website.

Japanese Links
Information about Itsukushima Shrine
Hatsukaichi City Tourism Division's official website.

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