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[Beautiful Japan] HIROSHIMA Itsukushima Shrine


Itsukushima Shrine (Hiroshima City, Hiroshima Prefecture)

A magnificent shrine floots on the water, in harmony with its natural surroundings

Made Governor of the province then known as 'Aki' during the Heian period (794-1185), the great warlord Taira no Kiyomori (1118-1181) made improvements to the existing Itsukushima Shrine, creating a sight unique in all the world, a structure that appears
to float on the waves. It is said that behind the brilliant idea of making the sea
into the temple approach, over and above the island itself (also known as 'Miyajima'
or 'Shrine Island') being held sacred and thus no building being allowed there,
was Kiyomori's great ambition of encouraging trade with Song-dynasty China.
He wished with this shrine to demonstrate the renewal of the country and its connection
with the outside world. The tori front gate is built in a manner which makes it appear
to float upon the waves, welcoming into the deep pocket of the bay all that approaches from over the sea. The main sanctuary connected by passageways and built without walls in the fashion of the residences of 12th-century nobility is in beautiful harmony
with their natural backdrop of Mt. Misen and the vast expanse of sea. This magnificent shrine, the fountainhead of the Japanese esthetic of harmony among all things—gods, nature, people, and the wide world—was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site
in 1996.

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