Itsukushima Shrine, the gateway to Japan

Itsukushima, which is located right off of the port of Hiroshima, is possibly the one site in Japan that most exemplifies Japan. It is most well-known for the impressive gate, known as a torii, that is located on the sanctuary’s boundaries, as well as for the sacred peaks of Mount Misen, extensive forests, and ocean vistas. The actual shrine complex is comprised of a total of 17 distinct buildings and structures in addition to the complex’s two primary buildings, which are the Honsha shrine and the Sessha Marodo-jinja.

The Shinto gate, also known as the torii, which rises into the sea has become an iconic image and a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it evokes the harmonious relationship between traditional building and its natural surroundings. The vermilion structures of the sanctuary stand in stark contrast to the turquoise seas and greenery of the surrounding mountains, which give the impression that the sanctuary is floating on the ocean at high tide. This is a wonderful illustration of how form, colour, and arrangement can all work together to create a sense of location. The Itsukushima Shrine, which can be found at Miyajima, in the prefecture of Hiroshima, is the only one of its sort that still stands in Japan. Since 1996, the location has been recognised by UNESCO as being of World Heritage significance. It is stated that this temple was constructed on top of a cloudy sea, and its buildings are red on the outside and white on the inside.

During his reign (1118–81), Taira no Kiyomori (1118–81) established the shrine in its current shape. He did so because he believed that the favour of the Itsukushima kami was responsible for his successes. In an effort to provide an explanation for this location, several different explanations have been offered.

The aristocratic villas of Kyoto were the inspiration for the architectural style that came to be known as shinden-zukuri. It consisted of a series of luxurious and spacious rooms that were linked together by hallways made of wood. The use of natural materials, such as wood and cypress tiles, as well as the exterior décor of thatched roofs and thatched walls, contributed to the creation of an integration with the natural environment that was around the structure. Since its construction, the complex has been subjected to catastrophic destruction at the hands of natural calamities and earthquakes, with the most serious damage having taken place within the past thirty years.
It had to do with making certain that the devout did not contaminate the holy island by setting foot on the mainland. Another aspect of this project involves the reconstruction of the mythological Dragon King’s Palace. A third issue with the Pure Land was how it should portray the Buddhist paradise at the period of Kiyomori, which was very common. The dead were transported to an abode in vina that was located on the other side of a body of water. The Great Torii is the most well-known of the buildings and stands at a height of 16 metres and has a mass of around 60 tonnes. It was built with the intention of extending a warm welcome to worshippers who had planned to sail to the sanctuary in the past. The torii was most recently reconstructed in the year 1875, and each of the enormous pillars was constructed from camphor trees that were between 500 and 600 years old.

There are a lot of things to see and do, and as is customary for a place of worship in Japan, there is a bustling commercial district with stores selling mementos and snacks. In addition, there is a cable car that goes up Mount Misen, a night cruise that goes to the torii, and hundreds of deer that stand still for pictures. It is believed that the kami have sent their messages through the animals. Those who come during the latter half of July will be able to participate in a floating festival that features hundreds of fishing boats lighted up with lanterns and adorned shrine boats. You can’t get anything more Japanese than this.



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