Miyajima’s iconic shrine gate going under wraps until summer 2020

Extensive restoration work on the iconic floating shrine gate that stands in front of Itsukushima Shrine will begin on Miyajima on June 3 June 17. The work is expected to take over a year to complete.

So, rather than this….

… until August 2020, visitors making their much anticipated trips to Miyajima are more likely to be greeting by something like this…

[Photo from Japan-Hub.com who visited during the last restoration project in 2013.]
And from Itsukushima Shrine, rather than this…

they’ll be (not?) getting selfies with something like this…

[Photo from Japan-Hub.com who visited during the last restoration project in 2013.]


The repairs to the 8th generation torii gate which dates from 1875 are the first major restoration work to be conducted in 70 years.

The first work to be tackled is to repair the base of 3 of the 6 pillars that stand on the sea floor and support the huge vermillion structure, which graces the covers of many Japan guidebooks.

From June 3, the 3 pillars will be surrounded by 5.3 high scaffolding to allow workers to repair internal water and insect damage. The torii gate will roped off and visitors will no longer be able to walk right up to the gate while the repair work is being conducted.

Around July 10, the scaffolding will be temporarily removed for the Kangensai Festival to be held on July 19.

Once the festival is over, however, the entire torii gate will scaffolded and covered in netting, to allow for the rest of the structure to be given a fresh coat of vermillion laquer and for the 24 meter long hiwadabuki roof to re-thatched with cypress bark shingles.

[Repair work on the roof of the Miyajima shrine gate in 2012.]

Two days after the annual Miyajima Fireworks Festival on August 24, a 110m temporary jetty will built, connecting the worksite with the land to the west.

The completion of the restoration work is expected to be in August 2020, but depending on the state of the torii gate and how work progresses, it could take longer. It has been announced that, however, that some of the scaffolding will be removed for the 2020 Kangensai Festival on August 6, which coincides with Hiroshima Peace Memorial Day which marks the 75th anniversary of the A-bomb attack on the city.

It is reported that the shrine gate’s silhouette will be visible through the netting, but that is likely to be little consolation to the many overseas visitors expected to visit during this year’s Rugby World Cup and next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Miyajima Otorii Shrine Gate Repairs Schedule

June 3 June 17, 2019 Scaffolding set up around the base of base of the pillars
July 10, 2019 Scaffolding around the base of base of the pillars temporarily removed
July 19, 2019 Kangensai Festival
July 20, 2019 Scaffolding and cover around entire torii gate
August 24, 2019 Miyajima Fireworks Festival
August 26, 2019 110m Jetty constructed linking the torri gate worksite with the western shore
August 6, 2020 Scaffolding partly removed to accommodate Kangensai Festival
*All dates (other than festival dates) approximate. Actual date of completion of repair work as yet unknown.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

8 thoughts on “Miyajima’s iconic shrine gate going under wraps until summer 2020

  • July 4, 2021 at 8:13 am

    Hi, we are planing to visit Miyajima in April 2022, do you have any information about the reconstruction work by that time?
    Thank you.

    • December 20, 2021 at 6:34 am

      hi Patricia,
      we all have our fingers crossed that Miyajima’s famous O-torii gate will be unveiled by 2022, but it seems it may not be completed until 2025. Luckily, there are still many other wonderful reasons to visit Miyajima island.

  • March 11, 2020 at 7:40 pm

    Your website says it is expected to take more than a year to complete repairs that will begin in June but also says it is expected the works will be completed by August 2020 (but may take longer). We plan to visit and stay on Miyajima in November 2020. What is likely to be the position with the great shrine gate then? Thank you.

    • March 12, 2020 at 5:17 pm

      We are hearing that it could well be years rather than months before the current work is completed. Noting official has been announced and will be sure to update if we hear anything. Miyajima is very beautiful in November and some the prettiest spots are away from the shrine gate – it could also be a chance to enjoy the autumn colors with fewer crowds than in past years. Good luck with your planning!

  • January 16, 2020 at 1:49 am

    Even in the official website http://visit-miyajima-japan.com/en/culture-and-heritage/spiritual-heritage-temples-shrines/sanctuaire-itsukushima.html seems not report it clearly (actually I do not read it anywhere in this page), they should report it directly in the first few lines…, hope the one who’s planning to visit there could find the information some where else (like here) more easily! I’m thinking of all the effort of a tourist to be able to enter all the possible destinations, with travel and hotels …

    • March 12, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Hi Bettina

      We agree with you 100%. I think visitors should at least be aware of the situation before they get on the ferry!

      We are are hearing that the work on the shrine gate will take much longer than the year suggested in official statements, but, as far as I know, nothing public has been announced by official sources.

      There is so much more to enjoy on Miyajima than the (admittedly impressive) shrine gate and we hope to play our part by highlighting these attractions on this site in the coming months.

  • August 19, 2019 at 8:14 am

    I unfortunately read your piece after getting there…
    I totally understand and respect the fact that such historical monuments have to be protected and therefore renovated but we were disappointed because no one at the Tourist center – I mean you’d expect them at least to warn you! – had warned us…
    Thanks anyway 😉

    • August 19, 2019 at 8:45 am

      Hi Emmanuel
      I understand your frustration and think it’s something the information centers should be preparing visitors for. Do you mind if I ask which tourist center you went to? We might be able to pass on your (and other visitors) comments.
      I hope you still had an enjoyable visit to Miyajima and Hiroshima.


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