Today's blog post takes us to Itsukushima, an island a short distance
west of Hiroshima (also known as Miyajima), famous for
gate standing in the water before the island's
At 16m height, it's one of the largest wooden torii
gates in Japan.
The five-storey pagoda.
There's also a stone torii
gate for pilgrims approaching the shrine via
the landward route.
There were deer on this island; possibly smelling the last of the rabbit pellets, they mobbed
and wouldn't leave her alone.
Itsukushima shrine stands on the beach; at high tide the wooden
boardwalk protrudes out over the sea. The shrine goes back to the
A sixteenth-century stage for nōh
plays and ceremonial
dances called bugaku
; note the painted backdrop:
There are in total eleven kami
enshrined here, including two
deified humans, including Toyotomi Hideyoshi (one of the
(feudal lords) who put an end of Japan's long
civil war, in the sixteenth century. Also Ōkuninushi-no-mikoto, the
deity of matchmaking—not inappropriate for a visit on
and my honeymoon.
We also went into Momijidani Park:
...from which we took a cable car up Mt Misen. At the top, I went in
search of holy sites at various locations on the mountain. Here is
something my Jewish readers will instantly be able to identify with: a
eternal flame, which is never allowed to burn out (though our version
consists of just a small flame (or more commonly nowadays an electric
light), not a complete fireplace with a cauldron of incense suspended
It's even called "The eternal flame" (Kiezu-no-hi), same as our נֵר
תָּמִיד. It was used by Kobo Daishi, the founder of Shingon Buddhism,
as part of his religious training twelve hundred years ago, and has
been burning ever since. The flame was used to light the Flame of
Peace in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park (see my next post).
Another building had incredibly intricate decorations:
...and inner sanctum:
Japan blog posts