Miyajima is an island in the Seto Inland Sea in Hiroshima Bay, Japan. It is also known as Itsukushima Island, which means ‘shrine island’.
When planning our two-week and four-city itinerary for our Japan adventure this year – starting in Fukuoka and taking the famous shinkansen bullet train to Hiroshima then onto to Tokyo and Osaka – taking a day out to explore Miyajima Island from Hiroshima was a highly anticipated top priority for us.
I was excited to visit Miyajima Island for these seven fabulous reasons.
SEVEN REASONS TO GO EXPLORING MIYAJIMA
1. MOUNT MISEN: Firstly, Miyajima has beautiful natural forests and its highest point – Mount Misen – has ‘ropeway’ of cable cars and hiking trails and from the observation deck at the top there are incredible panoramic views.
2. THE SHRINE OF THE ETERNAL FLAME: Also at the top of Mount Misen there are many shrines including The Shrine of The Eternal Flame or Keizu-no-Reikado.
This ‘holy fire’ has been keeping a huge pot of tea warm for the past 1200 years!
Our quest to drink from this 1200 year old pot of tea was a grand highlight of our day on Miyajima Island.
You can watch a short video below or read more about this adventure in my post A 1200 Year Old Pot Of Tea.
The Eternal Flame on Miyajima was used as the source to light the Flame of Peace that is burning in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park.
3. UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE: Miyajima also has the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shinto Shrine of Itsukushima.
Originally built in 593 over the water and dedicated to three female deities – Ichikishima-hime-no-mikoto, Tagori-hime-no-mikoto and Tagitsu-hime-no-mikoto – as gods of the sea, transport, and fortune.
4. THE TORII GATE: The Floating Torii Gate of Miyajima is one of the most photographed scenes of Japan.
It is also part of the Itsukushima Shrine UNESCO site. It is located 200 meters offshore and appears to float on the water when the tide is in.
When the tide is out, the Torii gate is accessible from the beach. When the sea is calm, it’s possible to experience passing through the Torii gate on a boat.
The custom is to bow twice, clap twice, and bow again to receive a blessing.
5. FIVE STORY PAGODA: There is a beautiful 14th Century five-story pagoda ‘Gojunoto’ on Miyajima that provides a picturesque backdrop to the island’s stunning scenery. Each tier represents the five elements of air, water, earth, fire, and void.
6. THE DEER: For the past 800 years, Mjyajima has had over 500 sacred wild ‘Sika’ deer wandering around the island.
They are considered to be messengers of the gods and protected by law.
There are signs to tell you not to feed the wild deer, but of course the deer can’t read, and they can be quite assertive.
They are also very cute and don’t mind people petting them.
7: FOOD: Miyajima also offers amazing food and is particularly known for its extra-large plump and delicious oysters cultivated in Hiroshima Bay.
I had to try them grilled and in a curry bread roll and in my okonomi-yaki.
If you love seafood – especially oysters – and you want to experience fresh and authentic Japanese food then my Miyajima Food Guide post is not to be missed!
HOW TO GET TO MIYAJIMA FROM HIROSHIMA
It’s easy to get to Miyajima Island by tram or train and then ferry from the city of Hiroshima.
For this reason we went to Miyajima Island on a day trip from Hiroshima that we organised ourselves.
We used a combination of tram (or local train from San-Yo Line) and a 10-minute ferry ride.
We were staying in JHoppers Guest House in Hiroshima, so we didn’t stay on Miyajima Island overnight.
But if you’re planning a night or two on Miyajima, I recommend using (affiliate) Booking Dotcom.
We used our Suica Card to ride the tram (Line 2) from Hiroshima Station to Miyajima-guchi Station.
When you arrive at Miyajima-Guchi Station, walk for 5-6 minutes to the ferry terminal for the ferry ride.
The route is well signed and you can generally just follow the crowd.
Buy your ticket and take the next ferry boat over to Miyajima Island.
The ferry boats run frequently – three or four times an hour – and journey time is around 10 minutes. Easy!
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