Torii Gate At Itsukushima Shrine

One of my dreams has come true again!!!

Ever since the time of birth, my life has been related to shinto somehow. My name was bestowed at Futaarasan shrine (日光二荒山神社) in Nikko where Ohkuni (大国主/大己貴命), Tagorihime (=his wife/田心姫), and Ajisukutakahikone (their offspring/味耜高彦根命), are enshrined. Last year I had a visit to Izumo Taisha where the ruler of Izumo province, Ohkuni, is enshrined. It was an amazing experience and I would like to revisit someday...

This year, I headed for Miyajima island (宮島) in Hiroshima Prefecture. According to Wiki, there are no traffic lights in this 2,000 inhabited island. My intention was to see one of his wives (Ohkuni committed bigamy that resulted in 180 or 181 offsprings!), Tagorihime, enshrined in Itsukushima shrine (厳島神社).

Actually Tagorihime is not the only enshrined deities in Itsukushima shrine. Her sisters, Ichikishimahime (市杵島姫命) and Tagitsuhime (湍津姫命) are enshrined there, too. They are called "Munakata sanjoshin (= three female deities of Munakata/宗像三女神) and they tend to be enshrined altogether in shrines such as Munakata shrines (宗像神社), Itsukushima shrines (厳島神社), Manai shrines (真名井神社) and so on. Since they are deities of water, above mentioned shrines tend to be located nearby water and are distributed all over Japan. They were born when Susanoo (their dad) and Amaterasu did ritual ceremony called "Ukei (誓約)". Since it's obvious that the name of the island came from Ichikishimahime, she must be the primary enshrined deity there... 

Itsukushima shrine is the most prestige shrine, called ichinomiya (一宮), in Aki Province (=western part of present Hiroshima Prefecture) and, as you are already aware of, the shrine was registered in UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. 

The photo of big torii gate is something like cover page type of photo in travel magazines featuring Japan tourism, as it represents a beauty and spirit of Japan. Itsukushima shrine gained solemnness and prestige when Kihomori Taira (平清盛) was assigned as the Governor of Aki Province in AD1146. 

The current torii is the 8th generation that was build in 1875. The 16.6 meter, weighed 60,000 kg big giant is taller than Buddha statue (東大寺盧舎那仏像) in Todaiji Temple (東大寺), Nara!!! The style of this torii is called Ryohbu Torii (両部鳥居) that belongs to myojin torii (明神鳥居) family. The roof-looking post is called kasagi (笠木) that is attached to the post called shimagi (島木). Inner spaces of both Kasagi and shinagi are originally empty but are filled with tons of fist-sized stones and sands, weighed around 5000kg. Although two main pillars are pinned down to the foundation, the giant torii is able to stand by itself mostly due to the weight imposed from the top. Even by typhoon attacks!!!

To be continued...


  1. Gorgeous pictures.It's a fantastic sight ! Such a BEAutiful place ...:)
    You are an inspiring photo artist !
    Greetings from Taiwan :))

  2. Interesting perspective on your photos, I particularly like the first and last ones. Miyajima is one of my favourite places in Japan that I have been to so far and you have captured the Torii in all it's magnificence. The contrast between the red of the Torii and the blue streaked sky adds to the dramatic feel. I particularly enjoy the reflected image on the first photo. Remind me to show you my photos of this one day...not sure they are as good as your though :))


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