Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima island is only one of the most photographed landmarks in the whole of Japan. If you’ve never seen the iconic orange-ish torii seemingly floating on the ocean, you should travel more. Or read more. Or both.
Itsukushima Shrine is THE star of the small island of Miyajima just 20km outside of Hiroshima. It is why most people travel to Hiroshima in the first place. That, and for the Atomic Bomb Dome, although clearly not for the same reason. Duh! But that’s not all.
There’s also the Miyajima Ropeway, a cable car that will take you atop the mountain for a wow view (1800¥ return). Or you could hike your way up to the observatory through the woods. The Five-Story pagoda and the Daisho-in temple are also worth the walk. After all, you made it there! You might as well see something else than that big old Shrine everybody wants a selfie of.
How to get there: take tram #2 from central station in downtown Hiroshima. See that long queue on the platform outside the train station?
- Tram: every 5 to 10 min
- Ferry: every 5 to 10 min
Tip: go to the information desk outside the train station with your passport and get the Fun Pass Hiroshima booklet. It costs 1000¥ for 3 days and you can use both local tram and buses in Hiroshima as well as the ferry to Miyajima.
- Tram ticket to Miyajima: 2 x 280¥ = 560¥
- Ferry ticket to Miyajima: 2 x 180¥ = 360¥
Total: 920¥ just to go to Miyajima island.
And that’s for the first day only! See? And there’s a bunch of discounts too along with itinerary ideas to visit Hiroshima and its surroundings. Get the pass!
When to get there: it’s up to you really, but here’s the deal. At high tide, you’ll get the money shot of the floating torii, along with 4 thousand other tourists. At low tide, you’ll get to walk on the beach mud and touch the shrine, alone with 4 thousand other tourists. At the time of writing this article (late April), high tide is at 9am and low tide is at 6pm.
What to do: pet the deer, eat some gigantic oysters and oyster-based dishes (oyster skewers, grilled oysters, oyster ice cream!?!), some fried seafood, some pastries in the shape of a maple leave, buy some souvenirs, walk around the temples and pieds and squat down with the locals to find some clams in the sand.
The bottom line is, Miyajima is a lovely getaway destination, perfect for a 1 day trip to the sea. Lazily stroll around the waterfront, enjoy some fried seafood, have some typical Hiroshima okonomiyaki followed by a creamy bun. Get your fix of temples, shrines, and selfies before heading back to Hiroshima.