Miyajima Island, home to World Heritage site Itsukushima Shrine, was crowded with tourists on Saturday for the first time in two days. Summit-related entry restrictions to the island in Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture, were lifted at 2 p.m. on the day.
The area around the shrine’s otorii gate drew many foreign visitors, who took photos of themselves with the gate on their smartphones or cameras, just as the Group of Seven leaders posed for a commemorative photo in front of the gate on Friday.
Ten minutes after restrictions were lifted, a ferry connecting the island to Honshu resumed operations. The first ship out was filled with some 460 passengers.
A tourist from France who visited the island via the ferry listened to a Japanese acquaintance explain the shrine’s history, and took pictures of the gate with her smartphone.
“It’s a sacred and beautiful place,” she said. “I think [the shrine] is also an important place, as it gave the world a chance to think about a peaceful society, as did the Atomic Bomb Dome I saw yesterday.”
Many souvenir shops and restaurants remained closed on Saturday even after the restrictions were lifted. “I was quite surprised by how many tourists came,” said a staff member at a souvenir shop that opened on the day. “It seems like the number of foreign visitors, especially from Europe and the United States, is increasing.”
“The closure during the summit affected our sales,” said a shop owner. “But that’s just how it goes with a national event.”
The owner added, “I hope Miyajima will become more well-known around the world through this G7 summit, and that many tourists will continue to visit the island in the future.”
Source: Japan News