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Japan: Miyajima

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Miyajima | Japan | Asia

[Visited: July 1995]

Japan is full of Shinto shrines, each one of which has a torii or entrance gate. Of these toriis, the one on Miyajima island is one of the most famous. The shrine itself is dedicated to three goddesses of the sea. It has been erected in 592, and placed in such a way that the high tide affects it most. Therefore, it is possible to walk under and around the "torii" when it is low tide, but it gives the impression of a floating gate with high tide. A visit therefore takes hours, if you want to see the gate in both conditions.

Picture of Miyajima (Japan): Miyajima torii at high tide

It has been said that to keep the island pure, it was for a long time forbidden to die or give birth on the island. Therefore, pregnant women and seriously ill people were transported to the mainland before they could break the rule. Now, the island is a major attraction in Japan, which in practice means that there are mainly Japanese tourists. The island certainly has a lot of charm if you manage to discount the many souvenir stalls which try to sell all kinds of kitchy things.

Picture of Miyajima (Japan): Miyajima - five-storied pagoda

Near the end of World War II, kamikaze pilots came close to this island to pray before setting out on their final mission. Now, the site is a well-preserved example of Japanese shinto religion, complete with five-story pagoda, museum, shrine, and Hall of Thousand Mats. The orange paint on most buildings seems new and it is hard to imagine these buildings are so many centuries old.

Picture of Miyajima (Japan): Miyajima shrine
Picture of Miyajima (Japan): Walking around the torii of Itsukushima Shrine at low tide
Picture of Miyajima (Japan): Stone lanterns and the famous torii of Itsukushima Shrine
Picture of Miyajima (Japan): Partly submerged torii of Itsukushima Shrine

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Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Miyajima (Japan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Miyajima.
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