The giant torii gate which seems to float on the water.

Floating Torii and Tame Reindeer in shrine filled Miyajima island

My tram all the way to the docks!
My tram all the way to the docks!

I traveled to Hiroshima to attend the Atom bomb memorial service which turned out to be emotionally draining. I needed a break from the reminder of destruction and death so took the streetcar down to the ocean. From the port I took the ferry over to Miyajima Island for the day.

In the past, women were not allowed on the island and old people were shipped elsewhere to die, so that the ritual purity of the site would not be spoiled; in fact, the island’s real name is Itsukushima , and Miyajima is just a popular nickname meaning “Shrine Island”.

The giant torii gate which seems to float on the water.
The giant torii gate which seems to float on the water.

It is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan’s three best views.

The main street filled with shops and deer!
The main street filled with shops and deer!
There were even some bargain shops along the way!
There were even some bargain shops along the way!

It was a very hot day and within 20 minutes of walking around I was covered in sweat. I went into a little local shop to buy a fan and the owner, seeing that the heat was really getting to me, also gave me an ice pack to carry with me. This helped for a while.

 

The whole shopping area has white sheets hanging over the road providing some shade for shoppers. The sheer number of souvenir shops is mind-boggling. They mostly sell the same things, all sell rice scoops, miniature floating toriis, and souvenir boxes of sweets. So after walking through 2 I had seen everything there was to buy. Even Hello Kitty has her own Miyajima-themed shop and I couldn’t resist buying something here.

As soon as I got off the ferry I was greeted by deer!!
As soon as I got off the ferry I was greeted by deer!!
Deer are considered messengers of the gods.
Deer are considered messengers of the gods.

All over the island there are deer that roam free and some even followed me around for a while. It looked like they would eat anything from paper to towels. Deer are thought of as sacred in the native Shinto religion because they are considered messengers of the gods.

Nobody seemed bothered by the deer roaming around the island
Nobody seemed bothered by the deer roaming around the island
The path to the main shrine runs all along the shore of the island
The path to the main shrine runs all along the shore of the island
Itsukushima shrine built in the water.
Itsukushima shrine built in the water.
The whole shrine seems to be floating in the sea
The whole shrine seems to be floating in the sea

Itsukushima is a small island and I walked along the beach to the Itsukushima shrine built in the water.

 Like the torii gate, the shrine’s main buildings are built over water. The whole shrine seems to be floating in the sea during high tide. I was quite excited at the prospect of getting to see this and not even the heat could keep me from the shrine.

The boardwalks connect all the halls of the shrine
The boardwalks connect all the halls of the shrine
Love that the shrine is build on stilts and looks like its floating!
Love that the shrine is build on stilts and looks like its floating!
I had to wash my hands before entering the shrine
I had to wash my hands before entering the shrine

The shrine complex consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall and a main hall which are connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea.

 I loved walking along these paths and looking out onto the sea with the lone Torii gate out there looking a bit lost. I was very lucky to have arrived during high tide, otherwise it would have just been a Torii gate standing in mud as low tide drains all the water around the gate.

The "floating Torii Gate" was spectacular to see
The “floating Torii Gate” was spectacular to see
I was very lucky to have been here during high tide!!
I was very lucky to have been here during high tide!!

Advertisements

17 comments

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Miyajima and the floating Torii. Now, after looking at all of the beautiful photos that you took there, I really want to go.
    I think it’s wonderful that deer live on the island….they add to the whole spiritual experience.

    Like

    • I had so many photos of the deer it was quite hard to just choose a couple for this post! I enjoyed photographing them and seeing how relaxed they were among all the people walking along the paths. It is great having a place where wild animals and people can interact in peace like this.

      Like

  2. More great shots ! So much to see, to experience…the photographs will record one moment in time, but all the moments stay in your heart forever, thank you for sharing.

    Rtk

    Like

Please share your thoughts,I want to know what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s