Let’s walk out to Miyajima’s famous floating gate!

Floating Torii gate at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island, Japan

Before now, you’d have to be able to walk on water to see Miyajima’s famous “floating torii gate” up close and personal, but thanks to a brief window of lingering construction access, the only superpower we mere mortals need is the ability to stand in line!

walking out to the floating Torii gate at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island, Japan

For the past three years, this World Heritage site has been veiled in mystery (i.e. construction scaffolding), but that nemesis-of-all-travelers-hoping-to-see-great-monuments-of-the-world finally disappeared in October 2022, leaving behind only this slim walkway out to the gate. In a brilliant move by the powers-that-be, every morning from 9:00 – 12:00, visitors are are allowed to walk out and admire the restoration up close.

And get this—they’re not even charging for this rare privilege! The only catch is that nobody is allowed to pause and take pictures, so they have to be snapped while walking.

So, let’s take a walk!

By now you may be wondering why they had to spend three years on the restoration work. The answer, uh, surprised me.

You’d think that even though the gate is made of cedar—one of the most decay-resistant woods on the planet—anything that’s 147 years old* probably suffered from good old-fashioned dry rot.

But no.

Photo of termite damage at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island, Japan

Termites.

Ugh, how the heckin’ heck did termites get all the way out there? The thing sits out in the middle of the ocean!

Turns out, termites can fly. (As can cockroaches. Have I ruined your day yet?)

To slightly counteract that piece of squick, let me show you the fabulous patching they did to restore the legs:

Photo of repairs to the floating Torii gate at the Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island, Japan

*There has been a torii gate at that location since 1158, but the current one was built in 1875.

If you’d like to explore the island of Miyajima a little more, subscribe to Japanagram, my monthly e-magazine. It’s free, and a future issue is going to feature Miyajima as the Beyond Tokyo travel destination.

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Jonelle Patrick writes novels set in Japan, produces the monthly e-magazine Japanagram, and blogs at Only In Japan and The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had

Published by Jonelle Patrick

Writes all the Japan things.

One thought on “Let’s walk out to Miyajima’s famous floating gate!

  1. Wow-very cool! Thanks for sharing. I loved our side trip to Miyajima. It was a fabulous day. I would have loved to see the gate up close. What a wonderful opportunity! Glad to see you’re back traveling in Japan. I have hope!

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