Itsukushima Shrine – Hiroshima | Travel Information

Itsukushima Shrine is the top attraction of Hatsukaichi City and the island of Miyajima. The vast majority of travellers visit purely for this very shine! On average, about 3 million people visit Miyajima – which for those who don’t know, is an Island located in Hatsukaichi City – and almost every single one of those tourists, visit Itsukushima shrine.

Itsukushima Shrine is a very unique and sacred shrine. It dates back over 800 years, well before Japan was a popular tourist destination. For those who are familiar with Japanese Culture and Shrines, you will know that each shrine has a Torii Gate, an arch which represents the entrance to a sacred place.


Torii of Itsukushima Shrine

The Torii Gate at Itsukushima Shrine has become one of the most iconic sites in all of Japan – It even is called ‘The Great Torii! That’s because at high tide, the water covers the bottom meter or so of the Torii gate, giving it the illusion that the Torii Gate is floating on the water! But it’s not just the Torii Gate which does this, the actual temple is built on stilts to give this illusion as well! The original Great Torii Gate was erected in 1168. However, after years of regular water movements and weather, the original gate had to be replaced. The one you can see today was built in 1875, so it’s still quite old, just not as old as the original.

Torii of Itsukushima Shrine at High Tide

Due to the geographical position of the shrine, stunning photo opportunities are common, with the calm Hiroshima bay in the background, and the rising sun which provides really interesting lighting. 

Because it’s also in a tidal area, when the tide retracts, you can walk right up to the base of the Torii gate, and get close up shots of this remarkable site. At lowtide, you can also expect to see the locals collecting shellfish along their way to the Torii gate. Shellfish are an essential part of the Island’s culture, and Miyajima was the first place in the world to hold a festival dedicated to oysters.



Like the Torii Gate, the shrine has had it’s fair share of bad weather leading to destruction. The current building, which was built in the 16th century, was nearly completely wiped out in 2004 by Typhoon Songda. Luckily, the shrine suffered repairable damage to the roof and boardwalk. No structural damage, but it was certainly a close call. Repairs on the shrine only saw the building closed off for a short period of time before it was reopened. 

Itsukushima Shrine is dedicated to the daughters of the Shinto God of Seas and Storms, and because of this, Miyajima is considered to be a very sacred island. Over time, there has been dozens of other temples and shrines established on the island. Miyajima has become so sacred, that it is said to maintain purity, no births or deaths are permitted on the island. Pregnant women, are expected to return to the mainland when their due date nears. Likewise, terminally ill people are encouraged to head to the mainland to pass on. 

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Getting to Itsukushima Shrine is not so simple. For one, it’s on an Island which can only be accessed by boat. Fear not, these boats will only cost you 180JPY, and it will get you across to the Island in 10-15 minutes. These ferries depart Miyajimaguchi ferry terminal, which is a short walk from Miyajimaguchi train station. 


Once you get to Miyajima, It’s very easy to get to the shrine, you will even be able to see the shrine on the right hand side of the boat when approaching the island. Once you arrive on the land, just walk to the right of the terminal and you will arrive at the shrine in no time!

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