There is no shortage of things to do on Miyajima. You can play with deer, visit the Itsukushima Shrine and Grand Otorri gate, eat fresh oysters, go hiking, play on the beach, visit the aquarium, explore the neighborhoods and streets, take a gondola ride high into the mountains, and hike up Mt. Misen. It is a children’s playground!
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Japan, 〒739-0588 Hiroshima Prefecture, Hatsukaichi, Miyajimacho, １−1
This island is beautiful and offers so much rich scenery. It’s often referred to as the virgin forest because it is virtually untouched by modernization. We loved running down the paths, encountering more deer, trying to spot the Otorii gate from different points from above, and hiking through the trees.
After we visited the Itsukushima Shrine and Grand Otorri gate, we hiked up the mountain to see the views and ride the gondola. The gondola is a short 20 minute stroll from the beach. There are several different paths you can take to arrive there, and each one is marked clearly.
Gondolas run from 9am to 5pm, and a round trip costs ¥1900YEN per person. This includes both gondola rides that take you all the way to the upper station at Shishi-iwa Observatory. Alternatively, you can bypass the gondola and hike up.
The gondola offers intense views of the entire island of Miyajima with it’s full blooming trees and forest and the surrounding islands. Once you reach the top ropeway, there are two paths to different views and scenery. One takes you to all the way to the top of Mt. Misen and the other one takes you around the top of the ropeway where the upper station is located.
We found ourselves immersed in the beauty and charm of the island and took our time to make it to the gondola.
Consequently, by the time we reached the upper station we had just a 45 minutes to hike up to Mt. Misen and back down before we missed the last operating gondola ride back down. We didn’t want to miss the experience that hiking Mt. Misen would offer, and we also didn’t want to be faced with having to hike back down the mountain at sundown with three tired children. Definitely hit the hike first, and then explore the island after.
We gambled that we could make it back in time. I will tell you right now that Gabriel is a machine. He held our 2 year old daughter the entire way up and down the mountain at breakneck speeds, while I trailed behind him, and my 6 year olds, breathing heavily and feeling near the point of passing out. He just kept on trucking. For the record, I was born at ocean level, and I swear that has something to do with it.
The climb is mostly uphill, and will make you work. I wish we could have enjoyed more of the trail, but it was delightful nonetheless. We loved every second of it (except the heaving and hacking I was doing – we hike a lot at home, but we aren’t running up the mountain pretending we are in a marathon escaping zombies). At the top we were met with a panoramic view that was as impressive as it was gorgeous. We made good time, and we were able to spend about 10 minutes at the top exploring the views from each direction.
The way down was considerably easier than going up, and we made it down a lot faster, but we still barely had enough time to catch the last gondola where we breathed a collective sigh of relief.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around different parts of the island and examining the various pagodas and buildings.
We took a different ferry back to the mainland and got lost trying to get home while stopping for ice cream twice!
► For Kids: This place is a haven for activity. There is so much to do and see and explore. You will love it, and your children will love it.
Did you hike to the top of Mt. Misen? Which route did you take? We’d love to hear about it!
► Nap-Time Version: A beautiful island offering with hikes, trails, animals and scenery with a gondola ride to Mt. Misen, the top most point of the island.
Check out our experience at the Itsukushima Shrine, and all over Japan!