I never get tired of torii!

These vermillion gates usually mark the entrances to Shinto shrines and create a barrier between the sacred and human worlds. I’ve been lucky enough to pass through plenty of torii while visiting Japan. Usually, it’s a single gate, like this massive one outside of Kyoto’s Heian Shrine.

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Sometime there are hundreds, even thousands, of gates — like the ones at Fushimi Inari Shrine, also in Kyoto.

But as far as I know, there’s just one “floating” torii gate, and that belongs to Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Sight on Japan’s Miyajima Island.

Technically, the shrine’s gate doesn’t float. It actually rests on top of the sand and stays in place thanks to its weight (60 tons) and construction. When the tide is low, visitors can get quite close to the pillars.

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And when the tide is high, it appears to float!

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In addition to the Itsukushima Shrine complex (that features smaller shrines and the Treasure Hall) …

Miyajima also offers plenty of other traveler goodies. There are some beautiful temples …

a pedestrian shopping street …

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even the world’s largest rice scoop!

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There are also lots and lots of deer that roam freely on the island. When they’re not trolling for treats from visitors …

they’re frollicking on the beach!

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Miyajima can be accessed via ferry in less than an hour from Hiroshima. Be sure to check the tide times in advance so you don’t miss the torii when they’re “floating.”

Here are the rest of my photos from Miyajima:

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  1. […] Like other major cities in Japan, it’s very easy to get to Hiroshima by bullet train. Although it’s feasible to visit as a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto, it’s nice to spend at least one night. Staying two nights would allow for a visit to Miyajima. […]

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