Japan is home to a myriad of shrines in all corners of the country, and they're marked by torii gates at their entrance. At some shrines, picturesque torii arches are placed in bodies of water, giving them the appearance that they're floating – and along with being visually striking they hold deep cultural and spiritual significance.
This guide covers five spots where you can appreciate floating torii across the country.
Hakone Shrine, Kanagawa
Hakone is a popular travel destination for its hot spring culture, but there's plenty more to see and do in the area. Hakone Shrine is one must-visit destination, and it's situated on the banks of scenic Lake Ashi. The red torii arch in the lake's waters often has people lining up for a snapshot, and the shrine grounds are often regarded as a power spot thanks to their stunning natural surroundings and spiritual energy.
80-1 Motohakone, Hakone, Ashigarashimo District, Kanagawa 250-0522
Shirahige Shrine, Shiga
Shiga Prefecture's Shirahige Shrine has their torii gate in the waters of Lake Biwa, which is Japan's largest lake. The shrine itself is dedicated to Sarutahiko Okami, a deity in the Shinto religion, and has a history dating back some 2000 years. The torii has become a popular photo spot, particularly when the sunrise is framed by the arch.
215 Ukawa, Takashima, Shiga 520-1122
Ouo Shrine, Saga
Located on the shoreline of the Ariake Sea, Saga's Ouo Shrine is home to three torii gates that sit in the water at high tide. At low tide, however, it's easy to walk out to them and explore from a different perspective. The torii here have to be replaced around every 30 years, and the last time this was done was in 2012.
1874-9 Tara Oaza, Tara, Fujitsu-gun, Saga 849-1602
Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hiroshima's Itsukushima Shrine is an incredibly popular destination for travelers to the prefecture. During low tide visitors can walk right out to the shrine's iconic torii, which gives an entirely different perspective than at high tide when it is surrounded by water. Exploring Miyajima after a visit to the shrine also rewards visitors with plenty of other gems.
1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima 739-0588
Sakurai Shrine Futamigaura Torii, Fukuoka
The Sakurai Shrine Futamigaura Torii is a bright white color, in contrast to many other torii arches in Japan. Part of what makes this torii so beautiful is what it's framing – the meoto iwa, or wedded rocks, sit behind it in the water. They're joined by a shimenawa (a traditional rope), and they stand strong as waves crash around them.
1-1-18 Maebarachuo, Itoshima-shi, Fukuoka, 819-1303