A view drastically changed by the tides
Itsukushima shrine is constructed in the architectural style of the Heian period (794 – 1185); it is a unique building which likens the Seto Inland Sea to a pond. This grandeur, red lacquer-coated shrine blends natural and man-made beauty in perfect harmony; the view completely changes during high tide when the shrine and corridors appear as though they are floating in the sea. The entire island is considered as a holy object in which a deity resides; in the front of the holy island is Seto Inland Sea and in the background is Mount Misen where the gods descend. Itsukushima embodies the form of the ancient Japanese Shinto worship in which people found gods in nature and worshipped mountains, oceans as well as natural phenomena. For this reason, it has been listed as a World Cultural Heritage site. The Island can be accessed by a 10-minute ride on a ferry leaving from the JR Miyajimaguchi Station and arriving at the Miyajima Sanbashiguchi. It is a 15-minute walk from here to Itsukushima shrine. You will be walking through the Omotesando shopping avenue which is filled with souvenir shops and restaurants. While walking through this avenue, we recommend checking out the world’s largest wooden scoop on display. We also recommend munching on Hiroshima’s famous grilled oysters or maple shaped steamed sweet buns. The highlights of Itsukushima shrine include the 60t, 16m high grand torii gate, the 275m long corridor, and the delicate yet extravagant main sanctuary.
Visit Mount Misen for a panoramic view of the Seto Inland Sea
Mount Misen is another spot you don’t want to miss. The cable car stop “Koyodani Station” is a 15-minute walk from Itsukushima shrine. When heading to this station, you will be walking through the Koyodani Park where you can enjoy cherry blossoms in spring, tender new leaves in summer, and colored leaves in autumn. Especially, the park’s approximately 200 maple trees display a spectacular view of vibrant colors in November. Enjoy a “walk in the sky” on the cable car while looking down at the magnificent views of the Seto Inland Sea and virgin forests. The final stop is Shishi-iwa Station from which you can walk to the Shishi-iwa Observation Deck and then onto the Seikado building of the Daishoin temple that houses the “ever burning fire” which is said to have been burning for 1,200 years. After that, walk through the tunnel of the enormous Kuguri-iwa rock to get to the best highlight of the mountain, the Mount Misen Observation Deck. It is located at the mountain peak from which you can enjoy a panoramic view of the islands dotting the Seto Inland Sea. Before leaving the island, we recommend watching the sun set into the sea at Miyajima’s sunset spot Mikasa-no-hama. Enjoy the magical view of the grand torii gate “floating” in the sea, lit up by the setting sun.