Miyajima is home to the famous Itsukushima Shrine, the iconic famous shrine that floats on water. This location is considered one of three of the most beautiful sites in the whole of Japan. In addition to the shrine and temple, there are deer covering the island that walk with you and steal all your food, and a gondola ride that takes you up to Mt. Misen with views that overlook all the Japanese islands.
► Ranking: #cleandiaper
To reach Miyajima you travel southwest by ferry boat to an island approximately 30 minutes away. You’ll want to plan a full day visit here to experience everything this island has to offer. There are several ferry options, and we chose the one that departs from the Peace Park Memorial. The ferry ride is longer from this location, but it’s sixes either way because you’ll have to travel longer by train if you take the shorter ferry.
World Heritage Sea Route
1-7-14-301 Otemachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima 730-0051, Hiroshima Prefecture
Operating Hours: 8:30am -5:30pm
Round trip fare: ¥3600YEN 12+, ¥1800YEN ages 6-11
This is the fastest ferry and offers you a view of the city from the Honkawa River that runs through it. It is a smooth, beautiful ride on a smaller ferry that fits about 50 or so people. There is also a top deck for viewing. On the approach you’ll be able to see the famous shrine in the distance.
Japan, 〒739-0588 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hatsukaichi, Miyajimacho, １−1
The last ferry back to the Peace Memorial departs at 4:45pm, but other ferries that travel back to the city depart at midnight. We opted to buy a one way fare, because we had a late start and didn’t think we’d be done by that early hour. This proved to be accurate, and we enjoyed the extra time to stay as long as we wanted. There are also hotels on the island so you can stay overnight. If you go with this option you can use your return fare for the next day.
The island is covered in extremely friendly wild deer. They roam among the visitors and are affectionate. They are constantly searching for food, and will grab it out of your hands if you aren’t guarding it preciously. They will also eat paper, and your clothes. It was a fun experience for our kids to witness them being so amicable. They wanted to give them everything we brought with us.
The entire island is considered a place of worship, spiritual place where man and gods live side by side. There is a wealth of things to do on Miyajima. The first thing we did was try the local oysters cooked fresh in front of you with squeezed lemon. They were delicious with a mild smoky flavor. They weren’t rubbery at all, but hot, soft and delicious.
From there it is a short walk to the Itsukushima Shrine. After passing through the congested shopping area, make your way to the bay and walk along the beach on the sand. Chances are you’ll be strolling along with a deer or two (especially if you smell like food).
The Otorii gate is sensational dazzling in the reflection of the water. Built in 1168, it is not buried but stands on its own weight under 6 pillars. The top of the gate is constructed with 7 tons of stones that bears the weight down. Depending on the tide and the season, the gate may be covered in water or you may be able to walk underneath it. During our stay we visited during low tide and were able to touch this magnificent sculpture and walk underneath it viewing it’s massive size and shape.
Admission: ¥500YEN 12+ ¥150YEN 6-11, including the treasure hall
The accompanying shrine is built on the beach, also over the water. It has several halls that jut out from the main building as if they were arms reaching out for the great Torii. It is serene walking through the shrine, the treasure hall, and the wishes wall. It was beautiful, but nothing was as stunning at the immense gate. We purchased a talisman here for a healthy pregnancy.
► For Kids: This is an absolute must do! From the fun boat ride to the island, to being able to touch the Otorri gate, walking on the beach, hiking in the mountains, and playing with deer, this is a children’s playground!
What did you think of Itsukushima Shrine? Did you go during low or high tide? Were you able to kayak through the gate? We want to hear all about it!
► Nap-Time Version: An island considered one of the three most beautiful places in Japan. Home of the famous great Otorri.