Miyajima, Japan – If you plan to visit Hiroshima, an easy day trip out is to visit the island of Itsukushima, also commonly known as Miyajima. This is the spot for one of the most famous Torii Gate and shrine in Japan, the Itsukushima Shrine. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Itsukushima Shrine has more than a few hundred years of history since the mid-16th century. Here is a quick guide on what to see and do on this island!
How to get there: From Hiroshima Station, take the JR line to Miyajimaguchi Station. From the station, there are clear signs to JR West Miyajima Ferry which is a mere 5 minutes walk. This is the ferry to board if you are holding a JR Pass, be it the JR Japan Pass or the JR Hiroshima-Kansai Area Pass. The ferry timings are pretty frequent, in about 15-20 minutes intervals. The ferry ride to Miyajima island is about 15 minutes and I recommend standing at the outdoor deck area where you can catch a glimpse of the shrine as the ferry approaches the island.
What to see and eat? The main highlight of Miyajima is definitely the Shrine. From the ferry terminal, the walk to the Shrine is about 15 minutes at a leisurely pace and I mean that you can literally walk to the foot of the Shrine itself. That is of course, dependent on the tidal conditions.
The Shrine aside, you can’t miss the numerous wild deers roaming around. One caution is to watch your back as the friendly (or rough) deers may launch a sneak attack on your bags, or linen clothes, and even munching on your maps!
Another sight is simply stroll through the old street as you make your way to the Shrine, which is filled with local souvenir shops, cafes which specialises in serving Miyajima coffee, as well as freshly grilled oysters. Hiroshima is well-known for oysters so you can safely bet on the quality here.
When is best time of the day to visit? Depending on the time of the day, you can walk out to the Shrine during low tide, though beware of the sandy grounds; or admire its beauty from afar during high tide. The best solution to predict the tides is to check the tidal forecast.
How much time is enough? I spent about 2 hours on the island, which include taking loads of pictures, having a coffee and snack, as well as walking through the old streets. You can easily spend half a day on the island if you prefer to take it very slow. I recommend visiting the island in the morning before 11am as the crowd gets pretty insane when I left the island late morning.
Ranted by The Ranter