What is Miyajima?

Miyajima, also called Itsukushima, is an island close to Hiroshima famous for its shrine, UNESCO World Heritage, and its famous Floating Gate (Torii). It is considered to be one of the most iconic scenery in Japan and one of “Three views of Japan”.

How to Go to Miyajima?

  1. Go to Hiroshima: if you have JR-Pass, you can go directly with Shinkansen
  2. Go to Miyajimaguchi by train (the harbor)
  3. Take the Ferry (only 15 minutes ride): included in JR pass or only 200 Yen

     

    Top 5 of what to do in Miyajima

    I would advise to stay overnight in Miyajima Island if you could. There are few hotels but they are quite expensive. anyway, the atmosphere in the evening is very quiet and relaxing since tourists are mostly gone. This is also the best way to enjoy both high and low tide on Miyajima Gate.

    1. Sunset on Miyajima Torii at high tide and/or low tide
    2. Visit Itsukushima Shrine just before sunset
    3. Visit Daishō-in temple and walk on the stairs with the Jizo Statues
    4. Eat Miyajima Oysters
    5. Meet Miyajima deers

    If you have time you can also go to Mount Misen by taking the ropeway and then come back downhill with the trails. Allow 3h for it. The view at the top of Mount Misen is interesting but not a must in my opinion.

    At least, you can visit the aquarium if you have kids.

     

    Miyajima Torii

    The most iconic site of Miyajima is its floating torii (gate). Basically, if you manage to make a good photo of the torii you can “check” Miyajima in your to do list.

    The best time to shoot Miyajima torii is at sunset. The sun is just setting behind the torii whatever the period of the year. then you can stay few minutes afterwards to get the torii with lights at blue hour.

    If you have time, I strongly recommend you to see the torii both at how tide and high tide:

    • When it’s low tide, you can go on the beach and make photo right in front of the torii.
    • When it’s high tide, it seems like the torii is floating… that’s why it is said to be “the floating torii”

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    Itsukushima Shrine

    The sanctuary worths visiting. First because you can have another perspective of the Torii and also it’s a very quiet and spiritual place to experience, especially at golden hour when the temple turns into gold. And there are also less tourists just before closing time.

    Daishō-in temple

    Daishō-in temple is 15 minutes walk for Itsukushima Shrine on the way up to Mount Misen. This temple is settled on the hill in the middle of the nature. It is quite surprising and impressive.

    The unique and insolite scenery in this temple is the 500 Jizo statues along a stair. Each Jizo has a different face expression, and wear colorful cap.

     

    Taste Oysters of Miyajima

    Oysters are a specialty of Miyajima, don’t leave the island without testing it. You can eat them both raw or grilled. It’s 500 Yen for 2 oysters… expensive but a unique experience on the island. 

    Some restaurants also proposes Udon with Oysters or Oysters on Rice. They are usually only open during lunch.

    Meet the deers of Miyajima

    With Nara, Miyajima is probably the most iconic place to meet deers while sightseeing. There are everywhere along the seaside between the harbor and the shrine (basically where the tourists are). They are actually often seeking for food and are very used to meet the tourists. I would recommend you to be careful of your pockets then because they love sneaking inside! 

    Mount Misen

    Mount Misen is not in my Top 5 because in my opinion it’s quite time consuming and expensive for what you get at the end. You need 2-3 hours to climb up with the ropeway and get down by walk I would say. Even if you take the ropeway, you will need to walk about 30 minutes to reach Mount Misen. If you don’t like trailing, it’s not really for you then. At the end, the end is nice over the bay but not “wow”. 

    Photography-wise, I haven’t really found any good inspiration but, if you want to walk in the nature, you can still do it. There are pretty nice trails.

    Aquarium of Miyajima

    This is a small aquarium but it can be nice to visit with kids. As I remember (I visited it in 2014), it was not always translated in English.

    Additional photos of Miyajima

    Photo reportage in Miyajima: market pedestrian street, people, atmosphere, etc.