seven gods
Shichi Fukujin
(Seven Gods of Good Fortune)
at Daishō-in Temple

from left to right:
Ebisu, Daikoku, Bishamon,
Benten (the only female),
Jurōjin, Fukurokuju, Hotei
Itsukushima ("Prized Island," aka Miyajima Island)

From "My Travelogue Manga of Japan (Sans Drawings)," by Kat Avila, Sequential Tart, May 2006, 1 April 2006 entry: "I take a JR boat to Miyajima Island. Mt. Mizen is my Mt. Fuji on this trip. I meet a guy from Switzerland, then a German couple who are on their way down. I am passed by a couple of German guys on the way up. A French couple passes me. I am not in the best shape for this. On the way down, I meet two girls from Pennsylvania who are teaching English in Japan. By 3 p.m., the tide has gone out and tourists are walking across wet sand and seaweed to take pictures up close of the famous torii (shrine gate). Families are digging for clams."

Links
Hatsukaichi City, Miyajima Tourist Office. http://www.miyajima-wch.jp/en/nature1.html
Hiroshima Prefecture: World Heritage, Itsukushima Shrine. Photos and map. http://www.pref.hiroshima.lg.jp/hiroshima/bunka/htmleng/elegacy4.htm
Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), Itsuku-shima-jinja Shrine. http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/hiroshima/itsukushimajinja.html
"Miyajima, an Island where People and Gods Live Together." Official Website of Miyajima Tourism. Island map, videos, and photos. http://www.miyajima-wch.jp/index_e.html
UNESCO World Heritage site—Itsukushima Shinto Shrine. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/776

Photos copyright © 2006 Kat Avila
Ō-torii (Grand Shrine Gate): The gate with shrine buildings and Mt. Mizen behind it is one of the "Three Most Scenic Views of Japan" (Nihon Sankei), the other two views being Matsushima Bay and Ama-no-hashidate.
JR ferry
JR ferry departure
from Miyajima-guchi
shrine gate
approaching the island
shrine gate     shrine gate
floating camphorwood* Ō-torii
*In Japan and China, sacred items were
made from camphorwood.
Miyajima Pier
deer at Miyajima Pier
Itsukushima Jinja (Shintō Shrine): First mentioned in 811 A.D., the main shrine has been damaged twice by fire (early 1200s) and once by typhoon (1325).
walkway
walkway from pier to shrine
stone torii
stone torii
shrine
Itsukushima Shrine
in the background
pagoda
gojunoto (5-story pagoda)
priests
Shintō priests and tourists
priests
close-up of previous photo
shrine exit
people exiting from shrine
shrine gate shrine gate
pine and Ō-torii
deer and shrine gate
deer and Ō-torii
deer and pagoda
deer and pagoda
pagoda and shrine
5-story pagoda and shrine
close-up
close-up of previous photo
pagoda
Taho-to on a nearby hill
weird tree
weird tree along path
Daishō-in Temple: A major temple of the Shingon Buddhist sect. Emperor Meiji once stayed here in 1885.
Niomon gate     Niomon gate
Niomon temple gate. Nio (Deva kings) stand guard at the
entry. The red Deva's mouth is open while the green
Deva's mouth is closed, representing universal principles.
wash basin
There is a water basin
with long-handled dippers.
stairs
stairs (ugh!)
statues
The statues are all smiling,
as if they know how much
further you have to go.
tengu     tengu
In the middle of the night on the mountain,
the mysterious striking of wooden clappers
is blamed on the tengu (pictured).
carvings
temple roof carvings
zodiac     zodiac
Jūni-shi zodiac with each year represented:
rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep,
monkey, rooster, dog, boar.
statues     statues
Henshokutsu Cave is behind them. Within the eerie
cave are 88 statues, each representing a temple
on a pilgrimage route in the island region of Shikoku.
outdoor altar
outdoor altar with
ema votive picture tablets
daruma tablets     daruma tablets
Outdoor altar with wooden daruma votive tablets,
on which worshippers have written their prayers.
tanuki
tanuki
(shape-shifting raccoon
dog, which resembles an
American badger)
daruma
daruma
(The good luck charm
is linked to Bodhidharma,
founder of Zen Buddhism.)
pond
serene pond
temple bell
temple bell
close-up
close-up of previous photo

Looks like a townhall
meeting beneath the bell.