Miyajima in Hiroshima prefecture is famous for having one of the three greatest views in Japan, along with Matsushima Bay (near Sendai) and Amanohashidate (near Kyoto).
During my break, I visited Hiroshima with my friends, taking a morning to visit the Itsukushima shrine on the island. The shrine is a world heritage site and is considered a must-see of the area.
How to get there:
As Miyajima is a separate island, outside Hiroshima city, you need to take a ferry to get there.
From Hiroshima station, take the JR Sanyo line for Iwakuni, and get off at Miyajimaguchi station. It takes around 30 minutes.
From Miyajimaguchi, the island is just a 15-20 minute ferry ride. As the ferry is operated by JR, it is included in a JR pass. The ferry comes every 15 minutes or so.
We got to the island at around 9:30am, and it was already bustling with people.
On arrival, we were greeted by some cute deer!
Our tour guide (just kidding, I wish)
On our walk towards the shrine, we even got to see a mother deer with her baby! I overheard a guide saying that the fawn is less than one week old.
The mother was very protective of her baby, so we couldn’t get too close. I could get a close-up thanks to my camera zoom.
Continuing walking, we could get a better view of the famous shrine gate.
Seeing the torii gate floating on the water, I felt like I was in a postcard.
Something important to note is the effect of the tide on the view of the gate.
During high tide the water covers part of the gate as seen above. This gives the illusion that it is floating in the water. During low tide on the other hand, you can get a closer view by walking right up to it.
Depending on your schedule you might get to see both, but my schedule was quite tight so we just saw it during high tide. You can get information about tide times from the information office at the ferry terminal.
We continued walking towards the shrine.
The shrine was built on top of the water, so you can see the water when you look out any side.
After the shrine, we walked around the shops at the Omotesando shopping street to look at souvenirs.
They also had quite a few places to eat, with lots of the Hiroshima specialties: okonomiyaki and yakigaki (grilled oyster).
It was still morning for us so we stopped for some kakigōri (shaved ice) to cool down.
Although there was much more to see around Miyajima, like temples and walking trails, we had to leave by noon to head to our next destination!
Miyajima really is one of the top attractions in the Hiroshima area and the Itsukushima Shrine and Torii gates are impressive to visit in any season.
Check out things to do it Hiroshima