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2005/05/03

The Incredible Shrine Standing in the Sea (Itsukushima Shrine)

安芸の宮島 厳島神社について

The incredible(信じられない,奇想天外な) concept for building a shrine standing in the sea was either an attempt to build the mythical(神話の) Rygu-jo (Dragon Palace) because the enshrined(祭られた) goddess is the goddess(女神) of the sea. Or, it was build as a manifestation(あらわれ) of the faith(信仰) in the Buddhist belief of Pure Land during the Fujiwara Period. It was believed that when people died, their soul cross over by boats the "next world" to go to Gokuraku Jodo (paradise, Buddhist Pure Land). Whichever(どちらでも) may have been the reason, the shrine is a truly(とても) magnificent(壮大な) sight that combines the harmony and beauty of human craftsmanship(職人の技能) and nature.
Since the shrine is built in the sea, the foundation(基礎) posts(柱) are submerged(浸かる) in the water and decay(腐食する) rather easily. Furthermore, the shrine becomes weathered(風雨にさらされ) and is sometimes battered(悪天候に襲われる) by the sea breezes and typhoons. Although constant and comprehensive(包括的な) maintenance is required due to these natural factors, nearly 800 years have passed since Itsukushima Shrine was first built, and we are fortunate to be able to see the same shrine as the Heian Court(貴族) did. The cleaning of the accumulated algae(藻(alga)の複数形) from the beach of the precincts(構内) and the leveling(地ならし) of the sandbar(砂州) is quite unique as maintenance of a shrine.
If you stand facing the sea at the Hitasaki ((Front Lantern) which is at the end of the projection(張り出した場所) from the Hirabutai (Broad Stage)), the deep blue sea extends all around and you will feel as though(あたかも~かのように(=as if)) you were riding in a Heian Period houseboat.

http://www.hiroshima-cdas.or.jp/miyajima/english/jinja/kaichu/kaichu.htm

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