Floating Torii Gate, Japan. Miyajima. Itsukushima island

Torii - the border between parallel worlds

Sacred Gate of Japan, Torii. Miyajima is one of the top scenic spots in Japan

Miyajima is the very island where the huge orange floating gate-torii are set along the coast, which travel agencies like to portray in all advertising photos of Japan. The floating gate on the island of Miyajima is one of the most famous images of Japan. By recognition, they are inferior unless the sacred mountain of Fuji. However, although many tourists "somewhere before saw" a photo of this bright gate, floating, seemingly in the water, not everyone knows what it is and where it is.

Miyajima is not the official name of the island. He is truly called Itsukushima. The same is called the sanctuary, which is located on it. However, "miyajima" means "island of the sanctuary," and this name stuck in the people. But both are correct, so you will not be confused. The island is located in the west of Japan, not far from Hiroshima - the very one on which the United States dropped an atomic bomb.

In ancient times, this whole island was considered sacred, and sinners were forbidden to step on it. Therefore, Itsukushima Shrine is built on platforms above water. During high tide it seems that it keeps afloat. And even in modern times, for religious reasons, they try to fence the island from death and birth. Nobody died here and was not born since 1878. Over the centuries, this place has become popular among pilgrims, and a town has grown around the sanctuary.

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Floating Torii Gate, Japan
The main religious object on the island is Itsukushima Shrine. According to historical documents, it was founded at the end of the 6th century AD, that is, more than 1,400 years ago. Like all religious objects in Japan, Itsukushima sanctuary was rebuilt and restored several times. Modern buildings were built in the middle of the 16th century, although it is believed that the general appearance has not changed since the 12th century, when a wealthy feudal lord donated money to the sanctuary for expansion.

In Japan, it is believed that through this sacred gate the souls of the dead fly into another world

Torii - ritual gates, set in front of Shinto shrines, are of particular importance to the Japanese. But this gate is not a symbol of good luck or happiness. Torii symbolize the border between the world of the Earth and the world of the sacred. The sacred world is called the Japanese "kami". The view of the Gate of Itsikushima is considered one of the Three Famous Landscapes of Japan according to a list compiled by the famous Japanese philosopher Hayashi Razan in 1643.

In ancient times, the Torii were made of wood (often precious woods), painted red and decorated with hieroglyphs or a discreet pattern. They are usually installed near Shinto temples. Often the temple has not just one such gate, but several. The more of them, the better: the gates are sacrificed to the temple in honor of any events. In one of the Kyoto temples (Fushimi Inari temple) there is a whole torium gallery, because it is believed that a person who has achieved success should definitely donate a torii temple. In this gallery, the red gate is installed almost closely to each other and form a long passage, arranged so that the sun shines through the gaps between them.

Previously, torii were always made of logs, but then wood was replaced with stone and even metal, and more recently reinforced concrete has been increasingly used in their construction. There are more than twenty different types of torii, differing in design. Most of them are named after those temples, next to which they were built. For example, there are Ise-torii, Hachiman-torii from the Ivashimizu Hachiman temple, Miwa-torii from the Omiwa temple, etc. samurai they adored on their flags nobori and sashimono, who served for recognition on the battlefield. In any case, torii for the Japanese is "emblem forever". One of the local attractions is that here, as in the ancient Japanese capital Nara, there are a large number of wild deer that are absolutely not afraid of people.

Japan for foreign tourists is another world. Especially, of course, the mentality and behavior of the Japanese is different. It's not customary to say no, but you should read between the lines that your request is usually impossible to execute. The Japanese work fine by the rules, but at any deviation they stand in a dead end. Every time you ask for additional sauce or, say, potatoes instead of rice in a restaurant, the waitress will mumble something inaudibly in response: the dish is served only in one way and no other way. Here you will constantly hear: this is impossible, it is difficult... in almost all situations.

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