Miyajima & the Itsukushima Shrine
September 27th, 2009 by Kate
Miyajima O-tori

Miyajima O-tori

I have found my favorite Shinto shrine.  Okay, it’s probably a lot of people’s favorite Shinto shrine, but hey, it’s just that beautiful!

 Miyajima is an island in the Seto Sea west of Hiroshima.  Like many things in nature, it (the island) is considered sacred by practicioners of Shinto.  As not to disturb the sacred island, the Itsukushima Shrine was constructed in the water leading up to the island.  Originally built in the 6th century and then remodeled into the current style in 1168, the shrine, and it’s o-tori (gate leading into a shrine) were constructed on low stilts above the water – so whole place looks like it is floating on the water during high tide.  The o-tori is located about 200 meters from the shrine (further out to sea), so it ends up being about 300 meters from land when the tide is in – such a sight!  The entire shrine is painted vermillion (an orangey red color that seems to be a rather popular color for shrines and such) and set against the water and the greenery of the island’s mountains it looks quite spectacular.  In a country choked-full of shrines, this one is outstanding-in-its-field (or should I stay outstanding-in-the-water). 

 And to make our visit to Miyajima even more memorable, our friend Yoshie (of Yokohama fame) asked her friend in Hiroshima, Keiko, to accompany us on our visit that day.  Keiko (and her daughter Yoko) were wonderful tour guides and hostesses.  We learned more about Shinto shrines in one morning than we would have learned reading a million guide books.  They showed us around, treated us to the local delicacies (eel and maple leaf shaped cookies – not eaten together of course) and only laughed at us a little when we got accosted by the local deer (who knew deer could smell popcorn through your backpack!).  We were honored that Keiko and Yoko took time out of their busy schedules to play tour guides – they truly made or time in Miyajima memorable and we look forward to playing tour guide for them in Phoenix someday.

Jeff and HIS minions... Tessa eat your heart out!

Jeff and HIS minions... Tessa eat your heart out!

One Response  
Takeyari Keiko writes:
September 27th, 2009 at 9:26 am

Maybe you are now on the boat for Shanghai after enjoying the stay in KYoto? Yoko and I wish you Bon Voyage!

Thank you for your kind letter and the beutiful letter-set with a cute crane made by Tessa and Phoebe. Their skills are amazing!

We’re sorry for not having longer time with you in Hiroshima. But it was a great time for us to know a brave family like you. We’re so happy you enjoyed the short trip to Miyajima. Your viewpoint toward a new things in our country was very accurate (I don’t know how to ezpress in English) and so, we enjoyed guiding you to Miyajima.

Jeff,Kate,Tessa,Phoebe! we wish you a safe and memorable travel! Love, Keiko`Hiroshima & Yoko@Tokyo

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