Shunsai Hayashi, a Confucian scholar who lived in the Edo period, wrote a book, Nihon Kokujisekikou (Observations About the Remains of Japan’s Civil Affairs), where he shared his travel impressions. From his travels, he selected three locations as Japan’s most scenic beauty - Nihon Sankei 「日本三景」: the pine-clad islands of Matsushima (Miyagi Prefecture), the pine-clad sandbar of Amanohashidate (Kyoto Prefecture) and the Itsukushima Shrine on the Miyajima island (Hiroshima Prefecture).
Later, all three were also designated as Special Places of Scenic Beauty by the Agency for Cultural Affairs.
Of course I want to see all of them, so here I am at the Itsukushima Shrine on the Miyajima, near Hiroshima. In the old times, since the island was considered sacred, the common people were not allowed to set foot on the island. So, the Itsukushima Shrine was built on pillars, seeming to float over the water. For the same reason, the torii marking the entrance to the shrine was also built over water. The first shrine was built here in 593 and the first torii was built in 1168. The present day torii dates from 1875 and it is made from decay resistant camphor wood.
Travel tip: When coming from the ferry station, near the stone torii marking the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine, you can find a boat of fishermen that will take you on a tour to and around the great torii. This is simply the best way to enjoy the great torii’s beauty and solemnity…
However, because of the low tide, this can be performed only during the morning, so the last tour starts at around 1:30 PM.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: