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Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Itsukushima Shrine and Miyajima’s Great Torii Gate

When people talk about Miyajima, the first thing that will pop up in their mind is most likely the giant “floating” torii gate. In fact, at high tide, the entire shrine seems to float on water! If you have ever wondered which shrine’s precinct the torii gate is marking, it is Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社), one of the best attractions on Miyajima! Registered as a World Heritage in 1996, the shrine was originally built in 593 and was expanded in 1168 by Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), the country’s general at the time.

Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan

Kiyomori believed that he was able to defeat the pirates who were terrorizing locals due to the blessing from the god of Itsukushima Shrine. This was why he kept donating money to the shrine.

Thus, The shrine grew from a small main hall to a pavilion that later attracted people with high social status (from nobles, shogunate, all the way to the emperors) to the shrine.

The impression of the scenery of the Itsukushima Shrine changes completely with the ebb and flow of the tide. Especially with the nighttime light-up, a fantastic atmosphere surrounds the shrine when it floats on the sea at high tide.

A List of Contents

Refer to our Miyajima article for Itsukushima Shrine’s access information.

Explore Itsukushima Shrine and Miyajima With a Guided Tour

If you prefer a guide to introduce you to the charms of Itsukushima and Miyajima, how about joining one of the below tours?

Miyajima Tours

Hiroshima + Miyajima Tours

Cultural Activities Tours on Miyajima

Sunset from Itsukushima Shrine

Sunset From Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan
© photo-ac.com

While you are busy exploring this god’s island, don’t forget to keep an eye on where the sun is.

Before sunset, you want to be at Itsukushima Shrine because it is literally the best spot on the island to admire this stunning scenery!

Getting up Close to the Great Torii Gate

At low tide, you can walk straight up to the 16 meters tall torii gate to worship it. If you look closely enough, you might find some coins in the cracks of its wooden pillar (*’▽’).

And no, those are not prices for those who waited patiently for the tide to ebb. The money belongs to the god of the shrine that previous worshipers offered.

Note that a large-scale preservation and repair work has just been completed on the symbol of the shrine, The Great Torii Gate, built in 1875. So there might not be many coins placed in the cracks when you get there.

As the tide comes and goes twice a day, about every 6 hours, if you don’t stay in Miyajima, it might be difficult to see the scenery of both high tide and low tide during both daytime and nighttime, which is another reason why staying on the island is a great idea!

Great Torii Gate Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan

Whether you choose to spend a night in Miyajima or not, it is always smart to check the tide table published on Miyajima Tourist Association’s website to plan.

As the table is only published on the Japanese website at the moment, here is a brief guide on how to use it:

  1. Select the year, month, and date that you are visiting Miyajima with the drop-down boxes
  2. Click the 潮汐表示 button to show the tidal information for the day
  3. The first column of the table shows the hours, and the second column shows the corresponding tide level
  4. The high and low tide table is below the photos

Or, you can translate the webpage using Google Chrome’s translation function at the right of the address bar. If you still have issues getting the tidal information, you can contact us HERE, and we will get back to you.

Sea Kayaking at Miyajima

During the day, instead of waiting for low tide, you can also kayak to the Great Torii Gate! The whole guided course only takes around an hour which shouldn’t be too tiring. But of course, it does take a small amount of stamina.

For more information, please refer to their website HERE. You can also make a booking with Klook HERE.

SUP tour is also available for reservation HERE!

Miyajima Light-Up Cruise

Another way to get a close-up photo with the illuminated Great Torii Gate is by joining the Miyajima Light-Up Cruise operated by Aqua Net Hiroshima Co. Ltd. This option is especially attractive if the low tide is happening at an inconvenient hour. While it isn’t cheap (1,600 yen) to get on one of the cruises and you need to reserve at least 2 hours in advance before departure, with all the money and effort spent to come this far to Miyajima, you really don’t want to go home without a nighttime selfie with this magnificent architecture!

For more details, please refer to their website HERE.

The Noh Stage

© photo-ac.com

Another thing that is worthwhile to mention is the Noh Stage. It is Japan’s only floating Noh Stage!

The stage is still in use as part of some of the rituals performed throughout the year (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Opening Hours and Admission Fee of Itsukushima Shrine

  • Itsukushima Shrine is open from
    • 6:30 am to 5:30 pm from January to February and from the 15th of October to the end of November
    • 6:30 am to 6 pm from March to the 14th of October
    • 6:30 am to 5 pm in December
  • The admission fees are
    • 300 yen for adults
    • 200 yen for senior high school students
    • 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students

Tip: Even during the weekdays, the shrine is most likely packed with tourists (especially during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons), so we recommend you visit the shrine as early as possible. Otherwise, you will be like us, who were struggling to find a good spot in the shrine without strangers in the background…

Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall (寶物館)

Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall Miyajima Japan

If you are interested in samurais and/or craft arts or are a history buff, don’t miss out on the Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall just at the back of the Itsukushima Shrine.

From swords and armor helmets to costumes and masks of Noh and dance, the treasure hall is home to more than 4,500 valuable items (although not all will be on display)!

These items aren’t just something that you can find in antique shops. Amongst the 4,500 items, about 130 of them have been designated National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties! So we reckon it is definitely worthwhile to spend a good 30 minutes or even longer at this museum that was opened in 1934 (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall’s Opening Hours and Admission Fee

  • Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall is open from 8 am to 5 pm.
  • The admission fees are
    • 300 yen for adults
    • 200 yen for senior high school students
    • 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students

Tip: Get a 100 yen discount with the Itsukushima Shrine + Treasure Hall combo ticket! Note this ticket is only sold at the entrance of the shrine.

Recommended Hotels and Ryokans on Miyajima

Mikuniya-Miyajima-Hiroshima-Japan

The below hotels/ryokans can accommodate special dietary requirements.

Discover Other Fascinating Attractions on Miyajima

Itsukushima Shrine isn’t the only awesome attraction on Miyajima. The sacred island has many other great places awaiting your visit!

For more information about where to go after you land on Miyajima, including budget accommodation, please refer to our article on Miyajima!

Toyokuni-Shrine-Five-Story-Pagoda-Miyajiama-Japan
Click the photo to find out about other amazing attractions on Miyajima!

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