Miyajima and the Gate

Miyajima and the Gate

For our last full day in Japan, we went to see the Itsukushima Shrine on the island of Miyajima. From Hiroshima, it’s a streetcar and short ferry trip, so an easy day-trip.

Oh dear. Around midday, when we arrived, the weekend crowds were intense, the souvenir shops intrusive and the famous O-Torii Gate we had come to photograph was stranded at low tide in thick mud.

But six hours later, after a stroll around the island, welcome reading time and a delicious authentic meal, all had changed. Now, this felt like a World Heritage Site, and the keen photographers, the ones with their tripods, were clicking away.

First built in 593 and remodelled in 1168, the Itsukushima Shrine sits on boardwalks above the rising tide. Approaching by boat, through the 16.6 m high, camphor and cedar wood O-Torii Gate, must have been an incredible, visual experience. As the sun broke through the low clouds, we obtained a dramatic shot that could only be Japan.

If you plan to do this It’s all about being there at high tide, and hopefully it will tie-in with the sunset. So plan your day around the tidal charts.

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