Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Itsukushima Shrine (Japanese: 厳島神社, Itsukushima Jinja) is a Shinto shrine on Itsukushima Island in the town of Miyajima in Hiroshima Prefecture in Japan. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Japanese government has designated several buildings and possessions as national treasures.
The shrine dates back to the 6th century, and has been in its present form since 1168 when funds were provided by the warlord Taira no Kiyomori. The shrine's construction, consisting of pier-like structures built over the bay, is due to the holy status that the island once commanded. Commoners were historically not allowed to set foot on the island, and had to approach by boat, entering through the gate that appears to float. Beside the shrine is a noh stage.
The dramatic gate (torii) of Itsukushima Shrine is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions, and the view of the gate in front of the island's Mount Misen is classified as one of the Three Views of Japan (along with the sand bar Amanohashidate, and Matsushima Bay). The gate has been in existence since 1168, though the current gate dates back to 1875. The gate, built of camphor wood, is about 16 metres high, and has a four-legged (yo-tsuashi) style to provide additional stability.
The gate only appears to be floating at high tide - when the tide is low, the gate is surrounded by mud and can be accessed on foot from the island.
On September 5, 2004, the shrine was severely damaged by Typhoon #18. The boardwalks and roof were partially destroyed, leading to its temporary closure. Though now reopened to the public, as of March 20th 2005, work is still ongoing to repair the damage.
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