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Why Miyajima Island Is a Perfect Day Trip from Hiroshima
If you are looking for a day trip and a little adventure, then Miyajima Island, the “Island of Gods” is a perfect day trip from Hiroshima. Located less than an hour away from Hiroshima, Miyajima Island has an overwhelming range of things to do. Look no further, here is everything you need to plan Miyajima Island day trip.
Read on about:
- the best things to do and see on Miyajima Island
- where to stay (if you decide to spend the night)
- what to eat
- how to get to Miyajima
- when is the best time to visit
Here is your expert step-by-step guide to a perfect Miyajima Island day trip:
How to Get to Miyajima from Hiroshima
Let’s start off with how to get to Miyajima Island. The good news is that it is super easy! In no time you will be on your way to Miyajima Island day trip.
First off, trains depart from Hiroshima Station every 15 minutes and will take you to Miyajimaguchi Station. It is about 30-minute ride from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi Station.
Miyajima Island Ferry
Once you arrive at Miyajimaguchi Station, follow the signs for Miyajima Island ferry.
The ferry is located no more then a 10-minute walk from the station.
If you have JR Pass then the pass will cover not only the bullet train to Hiroshima but also the local train to Miyajimaguchi and the ferry ride to Miyajima Island.
There are many other options available and you can check JR West Timetable here
Miyajima Island Map
Next, take a look at the Miyajima Island map. I used it every time I visited the island. it helped me plan the routes for each day.
If you look on the left hand side of the map, it gives you a list of places to visit and an approximate walking time from the ferry terminal.
Photo Credit: Miyajima Island Tourist Association
Best Time to Plan Miyajima Island Day Trip
Start planning your Miyajima Island day trip with checking the tides. My recommendation is to arrive to the island during the high tide.
During the high tide Miyajima Island Giant Torii and Itsukushima Shrine appear as if they are floating in the Seto Sea. It is the iconic view of the gate and shrine on the water.
Henceforth, the website that I use for checking the tides is: World Tides
The website is easy to use and navigate: select Japan and then scroll down to Miyajima and select the date:
But, if you have time constraints and you happen to be visiting the island during the low tide, then make sure to walk to the gate. You will get a great view of the gate and the shrine from a different perspective.
Top Best Things to Do and See on Miyajima Island Day Trip
Miyajima Island Floating Torii
The number one attraction as well as the symbol of Miyajima Island is a giant torii (gate). During the high tide, it appears as if the torii is floating out in the sea.
My recommendation is to rent a kayak for a couple of hours and go around and under the torii. You can check Paddle Park for prices and availability. The website is in Japanese. However, if you scroll down, you will get to the English section.
If you are visiting the island during the low tide, you can walk up all the way to the torii and really get the feel of how enormous this structure is.
Next, head on to Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine was built in 593 and became an important place of worship in about 1168. In 1996 the World Heritage Committee officially inscribed Itsukushima Shinto Shrine as a World Cultural Heritage.
Itsukushima Shrine is well known for its unique construction.
It consists of four main areas:
- the Holy Hall where the gods live (Heiden)
- the inner part where only the priests enter (Haiden)
- the external area for worship (Haraiden)
- the noh theater stage
All the sections are connected by numerous boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea. During the high tide, the shrine looks as if it is floating in the Seto Sea.
Interestingly enough, the reason why the shrine was built out in the sea was because the island was originally thought to be too sacred for commoners to set a foot upon.
Itsukushima Shrine is open year round from 6:30 am till 6:30 pm. However, during the months of January through December, the shrine closes at 5:30 pm. The entrance fee is 300 yen.
Make sure to verify the opening times before planning your trip to Miyajima Island by visiting Itsukushima Shrine.
Itsukushima Shrine Map
Following is a map to help you navigate through the complex:
Miyajima Island Five-Story Pagoda
Make sure to stop by and snap a few pictures of the impressive Miyajima Island Five-Story Pagoda. It stands tall on a hill above Itsukushima Shrine.
You will not miss it, for it is painted in a dazzling vermillion color.
The Miyajima Island Five-Story Pagoda was built around 1407 and restored in 1533. It enshrines the Medicine Buddha along with Buddhist saints Fugen and Monju.
Moreover, the pagoda blends both Japanese and Chinese elements of style:
- Japanese ornamental caps of the railing posts
- Chinese wooden pillars supporting the eaves
Daishoin Temple is about a 10 to 15-minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine and it is well worth the visit.
Founded by Kobo Daishi in 806, Daishoin Temple is the headquarters of the Omuro branch of the Shingon Buddhists.
The path leading to the temple is adorned with thousands of Buddha statues.
These are the statues of the disciples of the historical Buddha, Shaka Nyoria. They all look adorable wearing different colored beanies.
Next, follow the path, which will gradually climb through a beautifully designed garden.The design is so perfect that at the first sight it is not possible to determine whether it is a man-made garden or a scenery crafted by nature.
Eventually, the path will take you to Daishoin Temple. Make sure to step inside the temple.
The ceiling of the temple is studded with lanterns emitting low warm light.
My recommendation is to linger inside the temple for a few minutes and enjoy this peaceful and meditative atmosphere.
Take the ropeway to catch the magificient views of the island.
The ropeway leaves from Momijidani Station. You can take a bus or you can walk to the station.
My recommendation is to walk to Momijidani Station.
It is no more than a 10-minute hike up a slight incline. Simply, take the path leading from Itsukushima Shrine to Momijidani Park. To help you find the path and get to Momijidani Satation, I included Miyajima Island Map later on in this post.
On the way to Momijidani Station, you will pass through Momijidani Park.
Miyajima Island Deer
Momijidani Park is a hang out place for the famous Miyajima Island deer. They will be happy to see you and eager to find out if you have any treats. In addition, Momijidani Park is one of the most famous maple leaves parks in Japan. It is an absolute must-do if you are planning your Miyajima Island day trip in the fall.
The ropeway goes from Momijidani Station to Kayadani Station. Once you reach Kayadani Station, you will take a second ropeway to your final destination which is Shishiwa Station.
Shishiwa Station is 430 meters above the sea level. The views of the Seto Sea from the station are breathtaking.
By the way, there is a small restaurant next to the station. If you happen to be visiting Miyajima Island on a cold or windy day, then it is a perfect place to warm up with a cup of tea or a bowl of soup and admire the breathtaking views of the Seto Sea in a cozy place.
Tickets for the ropeway are available for purchase at several locations on the island. You can purchase one-way ticket or a round-way ticket. It all depends how much time you have to explore the island.
It is important that you check if the ropeway is operating. The service could be suspended due to adverse weather. You can check prices, hours and operation conditions here.
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Mount Misen, situated 535 meters above sea level and offering spectacular views of the island and the Seto Sea, is an absolute must-do during your Miyajima Island day trip.
There are several ways to reach Mount Misen: you can hike – it is about 1.5 hour hike from Momijidani Park or you can take the ropeway to Shishiwa Station and then hike to Mount Misen.
Mount Misen has been considered a sacred place since ancient times. It is home to the seven wonders. Here are some of the wonders that I found interesting:
The Eternal Flame
Apparently, the flame has been burning for around 1,200 years. And, it was started by Kobo Daishi, Buddist monk. It is said that the holy water boiled by this flame cures all sorts of illnesses.
The flame was used as the pilot light for the “Flame of Peace” of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
The plum tree is said have taken the root from the staff of Kobo Daishi.
If the tree fails to bloom, it is an ominous sign and a prediction of upcoming tragedy.
This is an interesting one!
Although the rock is positioned 500 meters above the sea level, the water level in its opening changes according to the rise and fall of the tide. Furthermore, salt is present in the water.
Omotesando Shopping Arcade
It is a busy street, filled with tourists (and deer) all year around.
Here, you can purchase all your keepsakes.
Make sure to stop and marvel at a huge rice paddle, which is said be the largest wooden rice scoop in the world. Some 7.7 meters long, 2.7 meters thick, and 2.5 tons.
It is made from a 270-year-old Zelkova tree.
My Favorite Street Food on the Island
Miyajima Island day trip would not be complete without trying some of the local delicacies:
- Miyajima is a must-see place for oyster lovers.
- There are booths selling fresh or grilled oysters everywhere
- Okonomiyaki – it is a savory pancake with variety of ingredients. Okonomi means “how you like it or what you like”. Yaki means “grill”.
- The best Miyajima Okonomiyaki is served with grilled oysters!
- Momiji Manju– it is a small pastry in the shape of a maple leaf
- Traditionally, it is filled with sweet red azuki bean paste
- Anago – it is a fresh water eel in a bun
Miyajima Island Best Restaurants
Yakigaki No Hayashi
If you are an oyster lover, then head straight to Yakigaki No Hayashi Restaurant. Following is the screen shot of their storefront, however, you will not miss it. First of all, there is always a small line of people waiting for a table, secondly, the smell of the grilled oysters will lead you right to this place.
They have the best selection of fresh oysters. You can choose from boiled, grilled, deep fried, raw oysters.
Miyajima Brewery is a great place to end up at the end of the day. It is located on the second floor (above Starbucks), so you can get a great view of the water and enjoy a sunset with some nice Japanese craft beer.
My recommendation is to try some grilled oysters and Hiroshima Red Ale.
Sarasvati is a little hidden gem that I stumbled upon while exploring the island. They make killer coffee! it is perfect if you need a little pick me up during the day.
I recommend that you stop by for breakfast and try some of their scones. For lunch, try their spaghetti with oysters topped with marinera sauce. However, if you have a sweet tooth, then look no further, they have quite a selection of decadent desserts.
My Favorite Places to Stay on Miyajima Island
If you decide to extend your Miyajima Island day trip, the I am recommending two places worth checking out. The first place that I stayed at is expensive, however, it is quite exquisite. The second place is priced at a budget price and it is comfortable and clean.
Miyajima Island Ryokan and Miyajima Island Hotels worth checking out, if you extend your Miyajima day trip and stay overnight:
Iwaso Hotel is one of the places that I keep coming back to. It is a luxurious Japanese style hotel. The service is superb and cuisine is outstanding.
Iwaso Hotel occupies a traditional wooden building as well as some cottages dating back to 1900. It is situated no more than a 5-minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine and from the floating torii.
My recommendation is to experience a traditional kaiseki meal, which is served in your room.
The prices for the room are about $400 per night depending on the time of the year.
Mikuniya Guest House
Mikuniya Guest House is the least expensive place to stay on the island. Price per night is about $65 depending on the time of the year. I would describe it as a tatami style dorm with futons.
It has a large common area where you can hang out, watch TV, or try your skills at making an origami. You share the bathroom with the other guests. Kitchen is stocked with basic products like noodles and cereals.
Mikuniya Guest House is located about 15 minutes from Miyajima Ferry. However, in order to get there, be prepared for a bit of the hike up the hill.
When to Take the Best Pictures on Miyajima Island Day Trip
If you decide to stay overnight on the island, make sure to take a stroll during the sunset.
You will catch some great pictures of the floating torii with the sun setting behind it.
If you wait a little and then venture out again later on in the evening, you will get some stunning images of Itsukushima Shrine and Miyajima Island floating torii.
Image by Vivien Ebran from Flickr
The Best Festivals and Events on the Island
There are a lot of events and festivals held on the island throughout the year. While you are planning your Miyajima Island day trip, try to schedule it during some of the festivals.
Following are just a few of the events or festivals which are worth attending:
Miyajima Island Oster Festival
- Miyajima Island hosts an Oyster Festival during the second Saturday and Sunday in February
- Oysters, which are all locally farmed, are served right by the Miyajiama Pier
- Find out more about the festival here
Firewalking Ceremony – Daishoin Temple
- Daishoin Temple hosts the Firewalking Ceremony
- The ceremony takes place twice a year – on April 15th and November 15th
- More information about Hiwatarishiki in Daishoin Temple here
Kangensai Festival- Itsukushima Shrine
- Kangensai Festival takes place mid-June
- Find out the exact date here
- During the festival beautifulyy decorated boats carry orchestras playing old Japanese court music
Fireworks Water Festival
- Miyajima Island Fireworks Water Festival is the largest fireworks display in western Japan
- Find out the exact date here
Image by Daisuke K from Flickr
Moreover, If you are planning your trip to Japan and need more ideas on places to visit, try this 14-day Japan itinerary to help you maximize your time in Japan.
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Now, I would like to hear back from you! Are you planning a trip to Hiroshima or Miyajima? When are you going?
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