The famous gate of Japan's famous Itsukushima Shrine is suffering from structural damage caused by travelers cramming it with coins.

Itsukushima Shrine, located on the island of Miyajima in Hiroshima prefecture, is celebrated canonically as one of three most scenic beauties in Japan, and a permanent heavyweight on the top ranked places to visit in Japan. The small island boasts gorgeous mountain trails and views, and hosts free-roaming deer who aren't afraid to mingle with human visitors. It's main attraction and most iconic view, however, is undoubtedly the shrine's torii gate, which appears to float on the water at high tide.

It's considered an all-day attraction, as observing the shrine gate emerging from the bay at night is a breathtaking view in itself, but at low tide visitors can venture out to the gate, which makes for a popular photo opportunity. Many visiting the island will attempt to throw and land a coin in the arches of the impressive torii gate, believing it to be a bringer of good luck.

Yuka Okumuraさん(@yukao0721)がシェアした投稿 -

Unfortunately, the call for good fortune has taken a turn for the worse. As the base of the great torii gate is often submerged under water, the wood has broken into cracks and deteriorated over time. Perhaps seeing this as an easier route to curry good fortunate, tourists have been forcefully stuffing their coins into the exposed cracks of the gate, which not only looks crude, but is also causing further and permanent damage to the treasured UNESCO World Heritage site.

Tourists cram their coins into the cracks, hoping for good luck

But the wedged-in coins are starting to overflow and spoil the irreplaceable wood

And the cracks in the damaged shrine are becoming even wider

Earlier this year, Japanese Twitter user @riyusuisuiriyu asked people to help spread word of the damage, since there has been growing concern that the torii may collapse. "If you put coins in the cracks, more cracks appear. At worst, it will collapse. It'd be awful if a UNESCO World Heritage site disappeared. Shrines aren't amusement parks."

Both Japanese and foreign tourists alike wedge coins in the cracks, as it is customary to offer coins at the altars of many shrines in hopes of good fortune, but the torii gate was obviously not designed for such a use. As damage increases, so do concerned discussions on social media. It's been brought up that the great torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine was made from one tree, and if it were to collapse, a reconstruction could not replicate what's made it come to be a World Heritage site and national treasure of Japan.

While this damage is obviously not exclusively caused by international tourists, travelers from abroad to Japan may not have heard the message and simply follow the lead when observing the already wedged-in coins. When visiting Itsukushima Shrine, please limit your coin offerings to the shrine's actual collection box so that the beauty of the shrine's torii gate can be preserved. Also be sure to treat the island's deer with respect, as they've been known to bite back against unruly visitors.

By - Big Neko.