Itsukushima Shrine

We’re carrying on our exploration of Miyajima Island now and we manage to wrangle an actual snap of us together!

There’s a pretty little stretch of beach on the island that is completely empty except for us hardy Brits!

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Next up on our mooch is the pretty Itsukushima shrine where walkways seem to hover above the water.

Itsukushima Shrine is a beautiful orange Shinto shrine best known for its floating torii gate that sits out in the bay.

The shrine has been destroyed several times, but the first shrine buildings were beleived to be built in the 6th century. The present shrine dates from the mid-16th century.

The shrine was designed and built on pier-like structures over the bay so that it would appear to be floating on the water, separate from the sacred island, which could be approached by the devout.

Here is the gorgeous Sori-bashi (Arched Bridge).

It is said that this bridge was also called “Chokushi-bashi” (Imperial Messengers’ Bridge) and that imperial messengers crossed it to enter the Main Shrine on important festive occasions.

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.

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Retaining the purity of the shrine is so important that since 1878, no deaths or births have been permitted near it.

To this day, pregnant women are supposed to retreat to the mainland as the day of delivery approaches, as are the terminally ill or the very elderly whose passing has become imminent. Burials on the island are forbidden.

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The shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of Susano-o no Mikoto, Shinto god of seas and storms, and brother of the sun goddess Amaterasu.

As usual you can buy a range of sacred items for wish fulfilment and good luck.

These wooden paddles are something different though, I am not sure what you are supposed to do with those!

 

 

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