Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社)

Itsukushima shrine Destination

Itsukushima Shrine is a World Heritage Site (cultural heritage) registered in 1996 and is located in Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture. The feature is that the shrine including the torii are located on the sea. Itsukushima Shrine was founded in 593, and in 1168 the shrine was built almost as it is today. After that, the entire building was destroyed by two fires, and the current shrine was rebuilt after 1240-1243.


The Floating Torii Gate

Itsukushima Shrine

When it comes to Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima), this large torii that floats on the sea is impressive. This torii is 16m high and weighs 60 tons, making it the largest wooden torii in Japan. It is often thought that it is buried deep in the seabed, however, actually it is supported only by the weight of the torii itself. Even so, It is surprising that it have never collapsed even if it was hit by an earthquake or typhoon.

Itsukushima shrine

At low tide, you can walk to the torii gate. Of course, you can also touch this historic torii gate. The impression changes dramatically between low tide and high tide, so it is recommended to take a leisurely tour of Miyajima from morning to evening and enjoy both scenery.

Itsukushima Shrine main area

Itsukushima shrine

Itsukushima Shrine is composed of some buildings such as the main shrine, worship hall, and purification hall. Many of them are designated as national treasures or important cultural properties.

Itsukushima shrine

The worship hall is a sacred space where a wedding ceremony is sometimes held. The ceiling of the worship hall of Itsukushima Shrine is designed so that the back side of the roof can be seen. This is a complex architectural style that you cannot see anywhere else.

Itsukushima shrine

The long vermilion corridor is famous. The total length of the east and west corridors is 260 m.The floorboards are provided with a small gap to soften the buoyancy when the sea level rises due to high tide and to remove the rain that has been transferred. It is well designed to construction on the sea.

Itsukushima shrine

Sori Bridge (反橋) is the large curved bridge located in the west corridor. This bridge is no longer used, at that time only messengers from the emperor were allowed to pass. As you can see, the slope is steep, so I wonder how it crossed.

Bugaku (舞楽)

Itsukushima shrine

This pagoda is located a short distance from the main area of Itsukushima Shrine. Bugaku is a traditional dance that originated in India and was transmitted to Japan via China and the Korean Peninsula. A total about 20 songs, such as Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), and Manzairaku (万歳楽), have been handed down and are still being performed. The date and songs for the Bugaku are decided in advance, so you need to confirm it.

Bugaku schedule

  • 1/1, AM 5:00〜 / Enbu (振鉾)
  • 1/2, AM 9:00〜 / Manzairaku (萬歳楽), Engiraku (延喜楽)
  • 1/3, AM 9:00〜 / Taiheiraku (太平楽), Komaboko (狛鉾), Kotokuraku (胡徳楽), Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), Choukeishi (長慶子)
  • 1/5, AM 5:30〜 / Enbu (振鉾), Kanshu (甘州), Ringa (林謌), Batou (抜頭), Genjouraku (還城楽), Chougeishi (長慶子)
  • 2/23, AM 9:00~ / Enbu (振鉾), Manzairaku (萬歳楽), Engiraku (延喜楽), Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), Choukeishi (長慶子)
  • 4/15, PM 5:00〜 / Enbu (振鉾), Manzairaku (萬歳楽), Engiraku (延喜楽), Tourika (桃李花) Ikkyoku (一曲), Soriko (蘇利古), Sanju (散手), Kitoku (貴徳), Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), Chougeishi (長慶子)
  • 5/18, AM 9:00〜 / Enbu (振鉾), Manzairaku (萬歳楽), Engiraku (延喜楽), Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), Choukeishi (長慶子)
  • 5/5 of the lunar calendar, PM 2:00〜 / Two songs (Performance items are undecided)
  • 6/5 of the lunar calendar, AM 9:00〜 / Enbu (振鉾), Manzairaku (萬歳楽), Engiraku (延喜楽), Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), Choukeishi (長慶子)
  • 10/15, PM 5:00〜 / Enbu (振鉾), Manzairaku (萬歳楽), Engiraku (延喜楽), Gaden (賀殿), Ikkyoku (一曲), Soriko (蘇利古), Sanju (散手), Kitoku (貴徳), Ranryouou (蘭陵王), Nasori (納曽利), Chougeishi (長慶子)
  • 10/23, AM 10:00〜 / Two songs(Performance items have not been decided)

Illuminated at night

Itsukushima shrine

In Miyajima, it is lit up around Itsukushima Shrine everyday at night. You can enjoy Itsukushima Shrine, where the fantastic atmosphere and the sound of the waves quietly echo, completely changing from the hustle and bustle of the daytime. 

Itsukushima shrine

Of course, the Torii gate is also lit up. At high tide, you can approach the illuminated torii gate by a pleasure boat.

Itsukushima shrine

The stone lanterns also have a light. So you can feel the Wa (和) not only in Itsukushima Shrine but also in the path.


Introducing the correct way to worship at Itsukushima Shrine. In fact, worship starts before entering the main area of Itsukushima Shrine.

Itsukushima shrine map
© OpenStreetMap contributors

The worship starts at the stone torii gate (Point①) between the ferry terminal and the main area of Itsukushima Shrine.

Point ① Stone torii gate

Itsukushima shrine

First of all, in front of the stone torii gate, you take a bow to the Itsukushima Shrine. Then you pass the edge of the torii. The center of the torii is considered to be the path of God. This is a manner when passing through the torii gate in Japan.

Point ② Entrance of Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima shrine

First, pay the entrance fee at the entrance.

Before entering the shrine, first purify yourself.

Adult : 500 yen
High school student : 200 yen
Elementary and junior high school student : 100 yen

Before entering the shrine, we first do Temizu (手水). For Temizu, first you pick up a ladle with your right hand. Then fill it with water and rinse your left hand. Next, switch hands and rinse your right hand. Hold the ladle with your right hand and pour a little water into your left palm. Then rinse your mouth and spit it out on the ground. Never touch the ladle with your lips. it’s considered very rude. Finally, rinse the ladle handle with the remaining water. Put the ladle back the way it was before.

Let’s go inside when the water is finished.

Point ③ Maroudo Shrine (客神社)

Itsukushima shrine

Before worshiping at the main shrine of the guest shrine, purify yourself with a “Harae gushi” (祓串) at the shrine opposite the main shrine of the guest shrine. First of all, bow twice, clap your hands also twice and bow once again (二礼二拍手一礼). It is a basis of worship. After that, hold the Harae gushi at chest height, purify the shoulders in the order of “left, right, left”, give a bow, and then put the Harae gushi back on.

After that, at the main shrine of guest shrine, also bow twice, clap your hands also twice and bow once again. Then toss the money in the donation box. When tossing the money, slide it from the corner of the donation box. In Japan, it is recommended to toss a 5 yen coin in the donation box.

Point ④ Main shrine of Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima shrine

Here, bow twice, clap your hands also twice and bow once again, toss the money in the donation box. Basically, this method can be used anywhere, so it’s good to remember it once.

Point ⑤ Exit of Itsukushima Shrine

After finishing all the worship, and leaving the shrine, finally give a bow to Itsukushima Shrine.

This is the end of the rough rules of worship.


Itsukushima Shrine is located in Miyajima, so you can access it by train and ferry.

Itsukushima shrine map
© OpenStreetMap contributors

Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station

There are two lines from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station, JR and Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden). You can arrive at Miyajimaguchi Station 40 minutes earlier if you use JR. The fare is cheaper for Hiroshima Electric Railway, however I recommend using JR.

If you use JR

JR Hiroshima Station
(San-yo Line for Miyajimaguchi, Iwakuni : platform 1~4)

JR Miyajimaguchi Station

Time : about 30 minutes
Fare : 420 yen 

If you use Hiroshima Electric Railway (Hiroden)

Hiroshima Electric Railway Hiroshima Station
(Hiroshima Station – Miyajimaguchi : Line No. 2)

Hiroshima Electric Railway Miyajimaguchi Station

Time : about 70 minutes
Fare  : 270 yen


Miyajimaguchi Station to Ferry station

You can reach the ferry terminal in about 3 minutes on foot from either JR or Hiroshima Electric Railway Miyajimaguchi Station.

Itsukushima shrine map
© OpenStreetMap contributors
Itsukushima shrine

On the road from the station to the ferry terminal, there are famous Anagomeshi restaurants (あなご飯, conger eel rice bento) and a Momiji manju shops that is popular as a souvenir.

Ferry terminal to Miyajima

There are Miyajima Matsudai Kisen (宮島松大汽船) Ferry Terminal and JR West Miyajima Ferry Terminal. Both ferries depart about four times an hour, and the fare is the same. Choose the one that suits your time. Tickets have one-way or round-trip, however please be careful that if you choose round-trip, you will have to take the same ferry on your way back.

Time : about 10 minutes
Fare : one-way ticket → 90 yen (child), 180 yen (adult)
Fare : round-trip tickets → 180 yen (child), 360 yen (adult)

Ferry terminal to Itsukushima Shrine

When you get off the ferry, head to Itsukushima Shrine.

Itsukushima shrine map
© OpenStreetMap contributors

If you don’t stop somewhere, you can reach Itsukushima Shrine in about 15 minutes. However, there are shopping streets along the way and cute deer welcome you, so I recommend that you enjoy the journey leisurely.


I introduced Itsukushima Shrine, but how was it? I hope you are interested in it. Besides Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima and Hiroshima still have many attractions. So, please check other tourist destinations.

Itsukushima shrine



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