Easily the most famous attraction on Miyajima is Itsukushima Shrine. If you’ve seen just about any tourism material for Japan it very likely had a photo of Itsukushima Shrine’s torii gate that every day at high tide becomes isolated as water comes rolling in across the inlet and separates it from the rest of the shrine. When I went down onto the beach by the gate it was close to low tide but with all the rain there was still a lot of water streaming across the land and into the sea. Normally the beach would be packed with visitors at this time of day but the weather was keeping people away and only one other person would join me on the beach while I was down there. When I visited the shrine in 2019 a cocoon of metal covered the torii gate to allow restoration work to be performed. Originally it was estimated that work on the gate would finish in 2021 but it looks like COVID has pushed things back and it might not be until 2022 when the scaffolding is removed.
While walking around the beach you can both walk up to the torii gate as well as get real close to the shrine complex without actually going inside it. Supposedly the first version of Itsukushima Shrine was built in 593, but the shrine definitely existed by the 1100s and has been renovated and expanded a few times. The shrine’s fame is the reason that Itsukushima Island is known more commonly as Miyajima, which literally translates to “shrine island.” In 2017 I had paid to enter the shrine (and it was pouring rain that time too) but for whatever reason I didn’t feel like entering in 2019 so I just got up close and observed everything from the beach.
Before leaving the area by the shrine I walked around the western shore of the inlet to get another view of both the gate and the shrine buildings. Not too many people come around to this area and you can get some unique shots of the shrine from there.