Miyajima island, famously known for its floating red Tori gate, is undoubtedly a must-see during your stay in Japan. In this blog post, I share with you everything you need to know if you want to visit Miyajima Island. After reading this guide, you will have all the keys in hand to book your trip to Miyajima Island and enjoy your visit to the fullest!
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to get to Miyajima Island?
Generally, most visitors will choose to discover Miyajima Island from Hiroshima City. And they get that right since it is very easy to get to Miyajima island from Hiroshima.
- Take a JR train from Hiroshima station to Miyajimaguchi station (it takes about 50 minutes).
- Walk 2 minutes to Miyajimaguchi ferry terminal (located straight away from the train station).
- Then, take a JR ferry from the Miyajimaguchi ferry terminal to the Miyajima ferry terminal. The crossing only lasts 10 minutes and you have ferries every 15 minutes or so.
Ideally, I strongly recommend you take one of the first ferries in the morning. Indeed, from 9:00 am, the island is invaded by visitors. The first ferry for Miyajima Island is at 6:25 am.
When to visit Miyajima Island?
Japan is a country that can be visited all year round and the good news is that the island of Miyajima is no different.
If you visit the island in winter, it will be difficult for you to do the hike proposed under the “what to do” section. So, if you want to go to the top of Mount Misen, you will have to take the ropeway.
How long to stay in Miyajima Island?
Miyajima Island is relatively small. In fact, the majority of the island is uninhabitable and undevelopable, making the island super lush and wild. Therefore, it is relatively easy and quick to visit the island. In other words, it is totally feasible to visit the island in one day.
However, if you have the opportunity and the time, I advise you 100% to stay one night in order to enjoy a sunset and a sunrise in the greatest of calm.
Where to stay in Miyajima Island?
We stayed in a beautiful Ryokan (a Japanese traditional housing), not far from the Miyajima ferry pier. The accommodation offers typical Japanese rooms at a fair price. You will have the opportunity to sleep on a tatami mat and to eat your meal on a small Japanese table. There is also a private onsen inside the accommodation. Amazing!
This ryokan is the ideal accommodation to live a typical Japanese experience. There are not many accommodations on the island, I recommend you book it as soon as possible. Book your room now!
How to move around Miyajima Island?
Since the things to see on the island are all located next to each other, you can do everything on foot. Also, please note that most of the roads are car-free.
However, if you decide to do a road trip around Japan, and especially around this region, I highly recommend renting a car. If you do so, just let your car in the parking at the Miyajimaguchi ferry terminal. Check out the best prices for renting a car in Japan here!
Things to know before visiting Miyajima Island
- There are only a few restaurants on the island. So you may have to wait a long time to be able to eat or either need to book a table in advance.
- There is no big supermarket on the island. We only found a small store on the corner of the main street that sells cookies and drinks. Therefore, if you want to bring food (or don’t want to eat at the restaurant), you can stop by the 7/11 located at the ferry terminal in Miyajimaguchi, before boarding the ferry.
- Miyajima Island is home to wild deer. Although they are very friendly to humans, they are still wild animals so be careful and don’t touch them. This goes double when you eat something.
- There are only a few hotels on the island. Therefore, f you want to stay overnight, you should book your accommodation way in advance to secure your spot.
- Most streets on the island are car-free. So it is definitely a good idea to let your car in the parking lot of the ferry terminal.
- Time for high and low tides vary depending on the season.
- It is possible to walk to the red tori when the tide is low.
What to do in Miyajima Island?
Miyajima Island is a perfect day trip whether it is from Hiroshima or from any other city on the Southern Island. I share with you below a list of activities you can do on a day trip.
ITSUKUSHIMA FLOATING TORI GATE AND ITSUKUSHIMA-JINA
Undoubtedly the emblem of Miyajima Island, the Itsukushima Floating Tori Gate is a must-see (and probably the reason why you want to come to the island). So make the most of your early morning visit to enjoy this magical place! You can see the Tori freely from the path (and this is where you will get the most beautiful view).
- Itsukushima-jinja is open from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm, every day. The entrance fee is 300 YEN per person.
- Itsukushima Floating Tori gate is open 24/24h.
- In the evening, the tori is lit up and the coast is illuminated by dozens of stone lanterns.
- Possibility to visit the foot of the Tori gate at low tide. The tide changes every 6 hours. Tide times are posted at the entrance of the temple or at the exit of the Miyajima ferry terminal.
- Located 10 minutes away on foot from the Miyajima ferry terminal.
- The sun sets behind the Tori gate which offers an incredible show. However, in low tide, many people will be at the foot of the Tori, making the perfect photo difficult.
- Since Itsukushima-jinja is way too popular, I only recommend visiting it between 6:30 am and 8:00 am.
- If you want to take the “classic” picture at the end of the pier of Itsukushima-jinja with the floating tori gate in the background, you will have to be patient and wait in line.
- At low tide, it is possible to approach Itsukushima-jinja from the bay.
- The temple as well as the surroundings of the temple are marvelous, so plan at least 1 hour on the spot.
TOYOKUNI SHRINE FIVE-STORY PAGODA
- Access to the Five-Story Pagoda is free and open 24/24h, every day.
- The entrance is free and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, every day.
- Next to the red pagoda, there is a brown wooden temple called Senjokaku. You can visit the temple for 100 YEN per person if you want.
- Located 12 minutes away on foot from the Miyajima ferry terminal, respectively 2 minutes away from Itsukushima-jinja.
- Toyokuni Shrine Five-Story Pagoda can be seen from different places on Miyajima island. So keep your head up to see this beauty!
- Check out the red pagoda at night, it’s beautiful with the lights on!
- The entrance is free and is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, every day.
- Located at the heights of the island, you can easily reach Daisho-in temple in 25 minutes by foot from the Miyajima ferry terminal, or respectively in 10 minutes by foot from Itsukushima-jinja.
- By the end of the afternoon (around 3:00 pm – may vary depending on the time of the year), Daisho-in temple is in the shade when the sun passes behind the mountains. That’s why I advise you to visit the place at the end of the morning for perfect lighting.
- The temple is located at the start of the walk to Mt. Misen which makes it the perfect stop before starting the climb
- Daisho-in is a large complex, allow at least 1 hour on-site.
Now that you have immersed yourself in Japanese culture, continue your day with some exercise in the nature. Once the visit to the Daisho-in temple is over, take the exit on your right (down the stairs) and follow path B to reach the top of Mount Misen.
At the top of Mount Misen, you will get an impregnable view of the green surroundings. The ascent is quite fast, counting about 1h15 of medium difficulty. There are some sections with many stairs. In addition to beautiful views, you will also find some stunning temples.
- Mount Misen is open 24/24h, every day.
- There are three different trails (A, B, and C) that lead you to the top of the mountain. A and B are the shortest ones.
- If you want to lighten the hike you have the possibility to take a ropeway for 1’100 YEN (one-way) or 2’000 YEN (round trip). The journey takes about 15 minutes to get to the top (with one transfer). However, keep in mind that it won’t drop you at the observatory or close to the temples. As a result, you need to walk for about 30 minutes or so to get there. The first gondola that goes up is at 9:00 am, with the last one that goes down at 4:30 pm.
- Ropeway departure is located at a 25-minute walk from the Miyajima ferry terminal.
- The starting trail B is located next to Daisho-in temple.
- I recommend going up by the B route and going down by the A route because it allows you to make a stop at the Daisho-in temple before the ascent.
OMOTESANDO SHOPPING STREET
Time for a sweet or savory treat! And good news, I have the ideal place to test the culinary Japanese specialties of Miyajima Island. Indeed, about 350 meters long, Omotesando shopping street is packed with souvenir shops, small food stalls, and folk crafts. Popular foods on Miyajima include anago-meshi (grilled sea eel on rice) and various oyster dishes prepared and grilled on the BBQ. However, the most popular food is called Momiji-Manju. It’s a sweet treat of maple leaf-shaped waffle with an insert of different flavors such as red bean paste, salted butter, honey, or even cheese (to name a few).
- The different shops open around 8:30 am.
- From 5:00 pm, the first shops start closing, and at 6:00 pm, everything is closed.
Located 12 minutes away on foot from the Miyajima ferry terminal. The street is parallel to the coast road.
- Most of Momiji’s stores have installed large windows around their production and packaging machines. Why not take a look at it before tasting it, it’s impressive!
- Best time to visit Omotesando shopping street is in the middle of the afternoon, after a long day of visits.
Don’t forget to check out all my posts related to Japan to get more inspiration for your next trip to Thailand!
Sending you lots of love,