This island shrine off the coast of Hiroshima dates back to the 6th century, and though repeated renovations have slightly changed its original configuration, its unique architecture and careful integration with nature earned it recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The island of Itsukushima (better known as Miyajima) is considered so sacred that commoners were forbidden to set foot on it for a stretch of its history. And no births or deaths have been permitted nearby. In fact, its dock-like structures were designed to allow the faithful to visit without setting their sullied feet on the island itself. Itsukushima’s magnificent floating torii gate has been heavily photographed, and has helped to foster a natural interest of and appreciation for the unique aesthetic properties of Shintoism.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR