Behind the red gate 

Behind the red gate

If there’s ONE ubiquitous photo in travel guides for Japan, it’s undoubtedly this red torii gate that seems to float on the sea. Where is this gate? In the Seto Inland Sea, on the island of Miyajima, facing the city of Hiroshima.

But let’s be honest: the gate is only good for a 5-minute photo opportunity. It’s the rest that’s worth the travel!

From Hiroshima, you can take a ferry to the island of Miyajima, spending around fifteen minutes soaking up the sea spray as the magnificent landscape of this mountainous, forested island unfolds before you. Whatever the season, you’re guaranteed to be amazed: whether it’s the colour of the entire forest as you ride the cable car to the top of the island, the cherry blossom trees in spring, behind which the white and vermilion of a five-storey pagoda stands out, the all-round view of the inland sea and its islets from the lookout point on Mount Misen (expect a good climb from the last cable car station before you can get there. …), the immaculate beauty of the Itsukushima sanctuary and the deer that welcome you at the port and roam freely around the island, all combine to make this destination one of your best travel memories.

Probably established in the 6th century, the shrine has been rebuilt many times over the course of history, and the torii gate itself was undergoing renovation (understand: “covered in canvas and scaffolding, too bad for the planned photos…”) from 2019 to 2022. But that’s all over now: the gate once again offers its contrast of orange-red against a turquoise-blue sea, much to the delight of photographers!


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