Itsukushima Shinto Shrine on Miyajima Island, Japan [360-Degree Panorama]

Miyajima, a sacred island in Japan. So sacred in fact that its famous Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (now a UNESCO site) was designed very cleverly 500 years ago. You see, the raised boards provided a way for pilgrims to visit the island without actually touching sacred land directly. The purity of the island was kept in check for hundreds of years. (Another feature of the design is that it look like the shrine is floating on water during high tide, which is pretty cool.)

Once at the shrine we gazed out over the water to the famous “floating” vermillion Torii (gate), only to find scaffolding and construction work obscuring the iconic structure. Disappointment.

But then something began happening in front of us – a traditional Japanese wedding, complete with a Bugaku Court Dance. The main dancer, dressed in heavy, colorful cloth with a wooden mask obscuring the face, was deliberate with every single movement, even the slightest. tai chi precision brought to dance. We later learned that this dance has been performed, with this same precision, in Japan for over 1,200 years. I can imagine.

I’ll trade you a missed photo opportunity of a torii for this – watching the dancer and the excitement on the face of the perfectly coiffed Japanese bride – any day. It was an experience we would keep with us and remember for much longer.

Open the panorama to full screen and take a spin around the outside of Itsukushima Shrine. Although the Bugaku dancer is gone, you can see the wedding party in the distance coming from their staged photo shoot (some things are universal). And if you look closely, you can see the torii out in the distance, all covered up. Maybe next time we’ll get to see it in all its vermillion glory.

Panorama: Itsukushima Shinto Shrine – Miyajima Island, Japan

panorama directions

Disclosure: Our Discover Japan tour was provided by G Adventures in cooperation with its Wanderers in Residence program. Some, but not all, eating expenses, were covered. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.


The experiences above were from the G Adventures’ Discover Japan Tour. If you plan to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please consider starting the process by clicking on the ad below. The price stays the same to you and we earn a small commission. Thank you!

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  1. says

    @Rob: Yes, I believe that it is all made of wood with a strong finish/covering on it to protect it from the water that comes up every day at high tide. Glad you enjoyed this!

  2. says

    as always… I LOVE this panoramas. I felt like I was just looking around only to my surprise to see a wedding. Great experience. This place I have never heard of but its certainly on my to do list now! thanks

  3. says

    @Rebecca: If you love these panoramas, stay tuned for when we release the new & improved panoramas in about 10 days! So glad you found the wedding party – quite fun to spot little details like that when taking a spin around.

    The whole of Miyajima island is worth exploring. Not too far from this Shinto Shrine is a beautiful Zen Buddhist temple. It was hard to pull ourselves away at the end of the day.

  4. says

    I was blown away by Miyajima! Its such a beautiful, peaceful place. This is a great panorama and brings back my happy memories from last year visiting the shrine. It was raining but still so beautiful.

  5. says

    @Jen: Miyajima is certainly a popular spot in Japan, but for good reason. And we found that it was easy to find places without any people – so peaceful and tranquil. Although we liked this shrine, I’d have to say that we preferred the Zen Buddhist temple up the hill even more.

    • says

      Catherine, this island is rather unusual as it feels like every spot of it is spiritual in some way – whether Buddhist or Shinto or non-denominational. Glad you enjoyed the experience of the 360-degree panorama!

  6. says

    Oh my, Miyajima is an apple to my eye. Such a great place. It’s made of wood, so I bet is it cold there? I mean, you can feel fresh air.

  7. says

    Such a beautiful shrine in a beautiful setting. Your experience reminds me of what I had to see in Vienna. Somehow during my visit most of the old buildings were undergoing restoration works, meaning scaffolding everywhere. Nevertheless they didn’t ruin the whole experience. I hope when you go back to Miyajima that famous torii will look as impressive as it usually does.

    • says

      Bama, really like the comparison to how construction work doesn’t have to ruin the atmosphere of a place as that comes through with the people usually.

      Maybe next time we’ll have that perfect photo op of hte torii :)

  8. says

    @Audrey Scott, you seemed to have a great vacation in Japan. Your blog was truly lovely. Hope to read more from you. Very few people manage to capture the readers the way you do in your blogs. I am thoroughly impressed.

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