Top Four Things to do on Miyajima Island

24 June 2015

A little out of the way but totally worth the stop is Miyajima Island in the southern region of Japan. While modest in size, it makes for a relaxing day trip after the hustle and bustle of the major cities. Here is a sample itinerary for a trip to Miyajima:

Enjoy the autumn colors
Miyajima, Japan
Miyajima, Japan

Autumn in Japan is a stunning sight and Momijidani Park is a great place to view the colors. In fact, it's a part of Japanese culture to enjoy the changing of seasons. In autumn it's known as momijigari (maple leaf hunting). At Momijidani Park you'll see koi ponds, Iwaso Ryokan (a traditional Japanese hotel), and adorable deer like the ones in Nara. Spring here is also great for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.

Taste local treats
Miyajima, Japan

Being an island, seafood is in abundance. There's oysters (fried or raw) and eel being sold along the street but the most iconic food of Miyajima is the momiji manju. The small treat is a soft, sweet bread stuffed with the filling of your choice. I, of course, had to sample many different flavors for research purposes. My favorite was cream cheese, followed closely by green tea.

Visit Itsukushima Shrine
Miyajima, Japan
Miyajima, Japan

This is probably the most recognizable shrine in all of Japan; a lone red torii sitting in the ocean. This gate is actually just a part of the Shinto shrine located on the island which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. At low tide you can walk to the torii and stick a coin among the barnacles on the side for good luck!

Climb Mt Misen
Miyajima, Japan
Miyajima, Japan

If you're in the mood to work up a light sweat, climb Mt Misen for an amazing view over the ocean and surrounding islands. Pack some food and enjoy a picnic on the raised platform at the top of this 535 meter high peak.

In addition, there are several more temples at the top, including Reiko-do. It is said that the flame here was lit by Kobo Daishi (founder or Shingon Buddhism) in the year 806 and has continued to burn since.

A friendly deer
Travel Tips

+ Hiroshima is the best base for visiting Miyajima Island. Take the street car (cheapest travel option) towards Miyajima-guchi for about an hour and arrive at last stop. The ferry terminal is just across the street.

+ If you have a JR pass, you can use it for the ferry to the island.

+  This link will give you the time tables for the tides as well as a forecast for the color of the leaves if you are visiting in autumn and cherry blossoms for the spring.

+ Climbing Mt Misen will take about an hour but for a small fee you can take a cable car to the top.

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