Itsukushima Shrine, near Hiroshima, Japan

Itsukushima shrine near Hiroshima
The red Torii gate at Itsukushima against the blue of the sky and sea.

The famous Torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine, a Shinto temple which dates from the 6th Century, guards the inlet that hosts the sprawling shrine. The shrine buildings actually sit astride the inlet, and when the tide is in, it surrounds the buildings and makes them seem as though they're floating on their own island. The Torii gate in this location is made of decay resistant camphor wood, and is the eighth gate to stand in this spot. It is not anchored to the sea floor, but sits on the floor of its own weight. As the gate deteriorates over the centuries, it is replaced. A gate has been in place here since 1168; the current gate dates back only to 1875.

Itsukushima shrine noh stage
A Noh theater stage is an integral part of the Shinto shrine area at Itsukushima.

The Shinto shrine at Itsukushima also features a Noh theater stage, which is used to present the traditional Noh plays, many of which illustrate myths of the Shinto religion. Here it is, with the torii gate to the shrine in the background.

The Itsukushima shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage site in Japan. Click the link to see a list of all the World Heritage sites in Japan with links to posts about the ones we've visited.

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