From ancient times, people have sensed the spiritual sanctity of Miyajima, and have reverd and worshipped the island itself as a god.
The main shrine is said to have been constructed in 593, the first year of the Empress Suiko.
The first record of Itsukushima Shrime in Japanese history was in the Nihon Koki(Notes on Japan), dated 881, and it was noted Itsukushima Shrine along with other famous shirines.
During the era of Taira-no-Kiyomori, it became a place of worship for the Heike clan, and around 1168, the main shirine building was constructed. As the power of the Heike clan increased,the number of worshippers at the shirine increased,the shrine itself began to become known among the members of the Imperial Court, and its grandeur became more and more magnificent.
The emperor and the Impeiral Court paid visits to the shrine, and the culture of the Heian period was amiably incorporated. Bugaku, ancient Japanese musical court dance, also began during this period. Even after the fall of the Heike clan, the culture of the Heian period was warmly accepted by the Genji clan and the shirne continued to experience a stable and prosperous era.
Walking around is the real sightseeing of Miyajima: Machiya-dori in atmosphere of Edo period, Momiji-dani Park with colour changing trees by seasons, Misen climbing courses, and so on.
Shops are welcoming us with famous Momiji-Manju(Sweets shaped maple leaf), or all kinds of fish and shellfish in Seto Inland Sea.
Anago(Conger) grew up in Onoseto in full of taste, has soft and rounded body.
Anago-meshi is grilled Anago with soy sauce on top of rice, this is representable dish of Miyajima.
Oyster farming in Miyajima is said to have begun about 330 years ago.
Especially Onoseto Oyster is well nourished from primeval forest of Miyajima, has the best flavour, taste, and texture.
Although their high-class image, we can also enjoy them easily in the season of oyster, such as grilled oysters for takeaway in front of shops in Miyajima.
seasonOctober - March
Miyajima is famous for its maple leaves.
So it's only natural that its delicious cakes be named after them. Momiji Manju(maple leaf shaped cakes) are small cakes with bean jam or other delicious fillings inside. They are loved for their refined sweetness.
Among the traditional crafts of Miyajima, the wooden rice scoop, which is made in the shape of a Biwa lute-like instrument, is one of the most popular. The method for making it was concevied by a Buddhist priest named Seishin during the Edo period.
Arts of Miyajima Wood Carvings are from shrine carpenters and joiners, but collecting their values as daily-use, like 'no incline with tea bowls' or 'less stain even spilled tea.'
Wooden craft works for daily-use, or lucky charms as souvenir for visitors, all design are simple and neat, all would become accents in our living.
Trays, sweets bowls, or cups, their simple form and natural texture has come from craftsmen’s excellent works.
Miyajima Papier mache are made with plaster mould which can shape very clear.
Over hundred models have their own lovely forms and bright colours.
One of Miyajima Pottery is Earthenware Bell, motifs of Miyajima or other celebrating items, with lovely sound.
Osunayaki is made from clay mixed with the sacred sand, that is from under Itsukushima Shrine and prayed by priest.
Festival of entertainment for gods, started by Taira-no-Kiyomori(平清盛). Gods are traveling on the sea in the barges decorated with colourful banners and lanterns in the darkness, ancient Gagaku(graceful music) are performed, all are like in the picture scroll of Heian period.
in last March
To commemorate Kiyomori who founded prosperity of Miyajima, festival is reproducing the rite performance of Heike clan on the Itsukushima Shrine.
venueMiyajima Pier - Itsukushima Shrine - Kiyomori Shrine
April 15, Nobember 15
After the burning of Homa trees and leaves of cypress, people pass walking over embers with their bare feet praying for wishes.
Held in Daishoin Temple after the year of 1991, Misen Main building was destroyed by typhoon.
April 15, October 15
Maibito(dancing people) and Gakujin(playing people) of priest play ancient performances on the Floating High-Stage in the Itsukushima Shrine.
venue Itsukushima Shrine
April 16 - 18
Special performance of Noh and Kyogen for Gods on Noh-Stage of Itsukushima Shrine.
Performers are 4 hundreds from not only Hiroshima, but from Tokyo or Kyoto, and the amount of their costumes and equipments are greater as well.
venue Itsukushima Shrine
June 17 (old calendar)
Kangen-sai, the largest of the annual festivals observed at Itsukushima Shrine, takes place on the night of June 17 by the lunar calender. Colofully decorated boats carry orchestras aboard and cruise along the coast while Gagaku music is being played. It is like a gorgeous picture scroll of the Heian period spread out over the sea.
venuearound Itsukushima Shrine
June 17 (old calendar)
A high spirited masculine festival that takes place on the sea. Young men living on Miyajima jostle and fight for a "precious wooden ball" of good luck suspended from a wooden frame in the sea in front of Itukushima Shrine.
The on-water fireworks festival, held offshore from the Otorii Gate on August, is one of the largest in Western Japan. The beauty and gorgeousness of the fireworks reflected on the sea captivates the spectators.
venueoff shore from the O-torii Gate
August 1 (old calendar)
Historical event being thankful to the crop, floating small hand-made decorated ship “Tanomo-sen” into the sea near the Itsukushima Shrine.
Big torches bound together are carried by young men on their shoulders, cheering and walking on the seashore.
This is the last day of the year ritual for fire prevention since Edo period.