World Heritage / Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

Criteria: (i) (ii) (iv) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 1996 | Location: Hiroshima Prefecture | Justification for Inscription



A red 'otorii' traditional Shinto shrine gate stands in the sea and is set against a green island in the background. Itsukushima Shinto Shrine therefore creates both a beautiful scene by itself as an integral part of the local nature as well as emphasizing the traditional religious based aesthetics of Japan.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
Itsukushima Shinto Shrine
Itsukushima Shinto Shrine is located on Miyajima Island. Miyajima, in Japanese, means "Shrine Island" and is an area sacred to three goddesses of the sea.
Since ancient times Miyajima has been regarded as a holy island. In 1168 Tairano Kiyomori constructed Itsukushima Shinto Shrine while praying for the prosperity of his family. The shrine constructed on the water presents a splendid view by contrasting with the beautiful green island behind it. This wonderful scene was produced as a result of Japanese religious aesthetics and beliefs and is like no other religious sight in the world. In 1996, Itsukushima Shinto Shrine was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Because it is located in the sea, the shrine has often been damaged by water decay and typhoons. Hit in recent years by severe typhoons in 1991, 1999, and 2004, it has repeatedly been restored to its former glory. These efforts help keep Itsukushima Shinto Shrine listed as a valuable Japanese cultural property in much the same form as it was in the 12th century.
NHK Drama
Otorii (The Great Gate) appears in the credits of "Yoshitsune," a historical drama on NHK (Japan's National Broadcasting Corporation).
Japanese Performances at the Shrine
Besides traditional Japanese performances such as Noh and Kabuki, classic concerts are also held in Itsukushima Shinto Shrine.

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