Island Fun!

Roaming wild deer, a floating shrine, and the world’s largest wooden rice spoon!

Itsukushima, popularly known as Miyajima, is a small island less than an hour outside of Hiroshima city. We took a ferry to the island that is known as one of the three most scenic spots of Japan, to see the famous Itsukushima Shrine and its floating tori gate. This island is mountainous and sparsely settled. It has an elementary school and middle school, there are no traffic signals, no cities (only small towns with privately owned shops and simple houses), and a population of about 2,000. Tourists come to this island to pray at the shrine and enjoy nature’s beauty. The island is full of wild deer that roam freely about the streets, just mingling among the tourists and islanders.

View of the shrine from the ferry as we approach the island.
View of the shrine from the ferry as we approach the island.

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Istukushima Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine is dedicated to the three Munakata goddesses: Ichikishima-hime, Tagitsu-hime, and Tagori-hime. These three goddesses are worshipped as gods of sea, traffic safety, fortune, and accomplishment.

The shrine is known for its unique construction, which displays the artistic beauty of the Shinden style of architecture. First built in 593, it was remodeled into its present grand structure by a powerful figure, Taira-no-Kiyomori, in 1168. Its placement on the water, beautifully framed by the mountain in the background, is said to be a testimony to Kiyomori’s extraordinary vision and achievement.

Itsukushima Shrine is composed of a main shrine, a Noh drama stage, music rooms, halls and several other shrines arranged around it. All these structures are connected by corridors with the total length of about 300 meters.

The vermillion color of the shrine and of the O-torii is considered to keep evil spirits away. The shrine buildings are coated with vermillion lacquer, which is also efficient as protection from corrosion.

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Entrance to the shrine.
Entrance to the shrine.
Purification area.
Purification area.

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View of the torii gate from the inside of the shrine at low tide.
View of the torii gate from the inside of the shrine at low tide.
The shrine as the tide starts coming in.
The shrine as the tide starts coming in.

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Five-storied Pagoda

The five-storied pagoda, said to have been built in 1407, is 28 meters high and harmoniously combines the Japanese and Chinese styles of architecture. The image of Buddha is painted in full color on an inside wall of the pagoda.

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Miyajima O-shakushi (World’s largest wooden rice scoop!)

This O-shakushi (wooden scoop) is made of zelkova tree whose age is 270 years old. It’s 7.7 meters long. At its widest point it is 2.7 meters and weighs 2.5 tons. It’s displayed in the island’s shopping arcade.

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Enjoying Nature

Deer laying in the pathways.
Deer laying in the pathways.
Deer casually walking around the streets and shops.
Deer casually walking around the streets and shops.
The ONLY wild deer we saw that had horns!
The ONLY wild deer we saw that had horns!
Steve's new friend :)
Steve’s new friend 🙂

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Lindsay View All →

Our roots will forever be from here, America, born and raised. Yet, life requires us to move more frequently than we care to count. Whether living stateside or abroad, you can always find us traveling somewhere. We scout out places that you only think you can dream of one day seeing and we seek out those that aren’t found in guidebooks. We then bring them to life here in our travel memos, so hopefully, one day you too can visit them or at least be able to live vicariously through us. This blog isn’t just about crossing off places from a bucket list. It’s about absorbing and learning how other cultures grow and fit into the same world that we do. Life is short and the world is big. Enjoy and get out there!

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