Mysterious Island of the Gods – Miyajima Japan
Miyajima Island is considered to be one of the most scenic spots in Japan, a spiritual place to Japanese and a must visit for tourists. Sometimes referred to as the Island of Gods it appears to float on beautiful Seto Inland Sea as one approaches it by boat. It is also home to the Itsukushima Shrine which is recognized as a World Heritage site. Bordered by the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen it is home to numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments as well as free roaming wildlife. On my visit there in the winter the weather was cool and cloudy with a bright haze hanging overhead. Most of the photographs were taken during the day due to the limited arrival and departure times of the sea ferry. Many Japanese go to Miyajima Island for a spiritual visit during the first week of the New Year.
Itsukushima is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine which was was established in the time of Empress Suiko. The warrior-courtier Taira no Kiyomori gave the shrine its present form. In 1555, Mōri Motonari defeated Sue Harukata at the Battle of Miyajima. Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a large building, the Senjō-kaku, on a hill above the shrine. The island is also famous for its free roaming deer that can be found both in the valley and the mountain side where spring cherry blossoms and autumn maple leaf foliage can be enjoyed by visitors.
The island of Itsukushima falls within Setonaikai National Park. The sea is can sometimes have strong tides which makes the ferry rides to the island exciting. During low tide, the bottom of the sea is exposed beyond the island’s tori which means visitors can walk up to the tori rather than simply view it from the beach area. At high tide, the sea covers the entire seabed filling the space belwo the shrine boardwalk.