Miyajima Island (sometimes known as Itsukushima), lies in the Seto Inland Sea, just off the coast of Hiroshima. On this sacred site, the kami have been honored since the 6th century. Kami are Shinto deities and may represent natural elements, creative forces of the universe, or the spirits of the deceased. They are often considered as the ancestors of Japanese clans.
The island's Itsukushima Shrine is a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. Painted in brilliant vermilion, which is typical of the Heian era (from 794 to 1185), the monument contrasts with the blue of the sea and the green forests of the background, resulting in a truly breathtaking sight.
Upon venturing inside, you'll wander through the 37 structures built over the water, and 19 others on the shore. Wooden bridges lead you through each part of the shrine, revealing one structure after another. You'll also have the chance to marvel at the various shrines to different kami, as well as stages for theater and dance, including the only Noh (traditional Japanese theater) stage built on a beach.
To enjoy a different view of the Itsukushima Shrine and admire its silhouette by night (when it resembles a bird taking flight), ask one of our local agencies to add a night-time boat ride around the island to your itinerary.