Miyajima ("shrine island") is how the Itsukushima island in the Seto inland sea near Hiroshima is popularly known. The whole island is a holy area: there are no delivery rooms nor cemetery on the island because giving birth or dying is not allowed on Miyajima. Trees may not be cut (and as a consequence Miyajima is covered by virgin forest) and animals may not be killed. Wild but tame deer, the messengers of the gods in Shinto religion, move around the island freely and so do monkeys on top of Misen, the island's highest mountain.
Itsukushima is known for the Itsukushima Shinto shrine, a popular and photogenic UNESCO World Heritage site with the famous red Torii gate in the sea. The first shrine buildings were probably erected in the 6th century while the present structures date from the 12th century. In 1555 the warrior-courtier Taira no Kiyomori gave the shrine its present form.
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