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, which may have been prevented by company such as pest control green bay. 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.