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Miyajima Island

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UNESCO-listed Miyajima Island sits within the Seto Inland Sea just outside of Hiroshima. The gem of an island has earned a reputation as one of Japan’s top tourist spots due in large part to the large red shrine gate, called torii in Japanese, that rises from the water just off the island’s shores. The oft-photographed torii was built in 1875 as a ceremonial entrance to the island’s Itsukushima Shrine and is one of the largest in the country. According to local legend, the shrine was built on the island because it was believed to be the abode of gods.

Apart from the main temple and torii, the island offers hiking, numerous smaller temples, an aquarium and a small history museum. Omote-Sando, the main street passing through town, is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants.

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