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Miyajima: The Wonders of Japan’s Island Shrine (360˚ Panorama)
Itsukushima Shrine and the Beauty of Sea and Shore

Somese Naoto (Photographer)[Profile]

One of the most famous sites in all of Japan, the floating shrine of Itsukushima Jinja juts out into the sea from the small island of Miyajima. The shrine is surrounded by the calm waters of the Seto Inland Sea, and in the fall its mountains are ablaze with a mass of reds and yellows. This 360˚ panorama tour gives a taste of one of Japan’s most glorious fusions of nature and culture.

Using the Immersive Panoramas

Miyajima, a small island off the coast of Hiroshima Prefecture, is famous as one of the Three Views of Japan, along with the islands of Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture and the Amanohashidate sandbar in Kyoto Prefecture. Surrounded by the blue of the Seto Inland Sea and dominated by the deep green of mountains covered in primeval forest, this stunning spot (whose name means “shrine island” in Japanese) has been revered as a sacred place since ancient times.

Miyajima held a particular importance for the Heike warrior clan, who dominated political life at the Japanese court in the late Heian period (794–1185). Their powerful leader Taira no Kiyomori (1118–1181), who became the first samurai to be appointed as chief minister at the Imperial Court, was responsible for completing Itsukushima Shrine in its current form. The bright vermilion of the shrine and great torii gate, which appear to float on the water at high tide, strikes a glorious contrast with the blue and green of the beautiful natural backdrop.

Miyajima has long been a popular destination with tourists from around the world. It can expect a further boost in visitors from Japan in the coming months, as NHK’s yearlong historical drama series for 2012 depicts the life of Taira no Kiyomori.

In addition to Itsukushima Shrine—a UNESCO World Heritage site—these 360˚ panorama photographs show two more locations on Miyajima: the vast Senjōkaku Hall of the Toyokuni Shrine, which enshrines the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537–1598), and Momijidani Park, where landscaped gardens blend with the island’s virgin forest. We hope you will enjoy this virtual visit to the island at the height of fall, when its colors are at their most glorious.

(Photographs by Somese Naoto, with permission from Itsukushima Shrine.)

  • [2012.05.04]

Photographer. Born in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture in 1964. Graduated from the Department of Photography in the College of Art, Nihon University. Specializes in portrait photography. His portfolio includes work for numerous magazines as well as several photograph collections. Currently an enthusiast of 360° panorama photography.


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