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Miyajima in Hiroshima prefecture is counted as one of Japan's top three scenic sites. On the north side of this island with only a 30 km surrounding area, there are numerous world heritage sites like historic shrines and temples such as the Itsukushima Shrine. There is also an aquarium, parks, and many other spots that can be enjoyed by all ages. On the other hand, on the south side, Mt. Misen stands with its lush forest, unfolding a nature-filled landscape that is perfect for trekking and exploring. A view overlooking the Seto Inland Sea can be enjoyed from the mountain summit.
- 1162-18 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
- Contact No.
- From JR Miyajimaguchi Station, walk for 5 min to Miyajimaguchi pier, take JR Miyajima Ferry or Miyajima Matsudai Kanko Ferry for 10 min and get off at Miyajima pier.
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 1 day
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Itsukushima Shrine is characterized by its beautiful structure that looks as if the building is floating on water. Visitors can widely appreciate the structure of Itsukushima Shrine, from the main hall, which was rebuilt in 1571 and worships the goddess of road safety, water safety and victory, to the hallways built with gaps between the boards to reduce pressure from the water.
The Great Torii (Otori)
The great torii of Itsukushima Shrine is 16 meters tall. It is a rare torii that is not buried into the ground but stands in the water merely from the weight of its pillars. It is possible to get close to the torii on yakata boats and row boats, and even to walk right underneath it when the tide is low.
The Symbol of Miyajima: Wild Deer
Many wild deer live around Miyajima's Itsukushima Shrine. In fact, these deer have been gifted from Nara Park in Nara prefecture and have thrived here ever since. The deer of Nara Park are known to be servant's of the god of the shrine called Kasuga Taisha. Miyajima's deer have eventually become cherished here too as servants of god. Please be aware, however, that it is not possible to feed the deer in Miyajima.
Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Museum
Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Museum exhibits valuable items related to Itsukushima Shrine. One can view objects that portray Itsukushima Shrine's prosperity, such as the registered national treasure "Heikenokyo" and registered important cultural heritage "Genjoraku-bugakumen," used for Miyajima's traditional performances.
Hokoku Shrine (Senjokaku)
Hokoku Shrine worships Hideyoshi Toyotomi and Kiyomasa Kato, warriors from the Sengoku period. It is also called "Senjokaku (hall of one thousand tatami)," for its space that is as large as 857 tatami. The construction started in 1587 by the order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi; however, due to Hideyoshi's death, it remains unfinished to this day.
The five-storied pagoda next to Hokoku Shrine was built in 1407. It mixes Japanese and Chinese construction styles and is painted gorgeously with vivid colors on the inside. Because it stands near the ocean, where strong winds occur, it has a wind-proof structure by extending the central pillar only to the second floor (entry not permitted).
Kiyomori Shrine worships Tairano Kiyomori, the Sengoku warrior who transformed Itsukushima Shrine and made Miyajima into what it is today. The Kiyomori Shrine Festival is held every year on March 20, when traditional performances are held on the high stage of Itsukushima Shrine, creating a fantastic atmosphere.
Kikyozan Hokoin Daiganji
Daiganji is said to have been built in the beginning of the Heian period (794-1185). Many deities are enshrined here, such as the Yakushi Nyorai (medicine Buddha), Shaka Nyorai Zazo (seated Buddha), which used to be enshrined at Hokoku Shrine, and the Itsukushima Benzaiten (goddess of eloquence, music, wisdom and wealth), which is said to be one of Japan's top three Benzaiten.
The coastal road connecting Itsukushima Shrine and Kiyomori Shrine is Nishimatsubara. This road with lined up stone lanterns is a perfect photo spot, as it has a great view on Itsukushima Shrine, the five-storied pagoda and the great torii.
The sand road between the shops on Omotesando and Itsukushima Shrine is Mikasanohama. As you take a walk and pass under the great torii, which is said to be the largest torii on land, you may encounter some of Miyajima's famous deer. The sunset from Mikasanohama is also known to be Miyajima's best view.
Daisho-in, believed to have been founded in 806, is the oldest Buddhist temple in Miyajima and is an honorable temple, where the Meiji Emperor and Dalai Lama XIV have once visited. Other than having numerous deities enshrined such as the eleven-headed Kanzeon Bosatsu (goddess of mercy), Namikiri Fudo Myo-o (the immovable king), the three demon gods, the seven deities of fortune and Ichigan Taishi (deity of one wish), it also has a humorous side, which can be seen in a stone statue with a character engraved.
Mt. Misen Observatory
Mt. Misen stands on the south side of Miyajima. On it's 535 meter-high summit, there is an observatory, from which Miyajima and the islands of the Seto Inland Sea can be seen around you at 360 degrees. The great panorama is an impressive view. It is a magnificent viewing spot that cannot be left out from Miyajima sightseeing. Highlights of the summit include the Reikado (hall of eternal flame), where the "Kiezuno Hono" flame continues to burn since 1,200 years, the Shishiiwa observatory, and it is also recommended for hiking.
Miyajima Ropeway connects Momijidani Station, Kayatani Station (transfer only, no getting off) and Shishiiwa Station. While it carries you through the air for about 15 minutes, the beautiful view of Miyajima such as the Seto Inland Sea and untouched lush forests unfold below your eyes. The most convenient access to Mt. Misen observatory is from Shishiiwa Station.
Momijidani Park, located by Miyajima Ropeway's Momijidani Station, is the top spot in Miyajima to see autumn leaves. The momiji (maples) in Momijidani Park date back to the Edo period when they were planted here. Today, autumn leaves on about 700 trees can be seen from around mid- to late November.
Miyajima Aquarium Miyajimarine
Miyajima Aquarium Miyajimarine reopened in 2012. Around 13,000 animals of 350 different kinds live here, mainly fish that live in the Seto Inland Sea, where the aquarium is located. Visitors can have a great time with sea lion shows and interacting with penguins. Also, the oyster aquarium where the habitat of oysters can be observed is not to be missed.
Omotesando Shopping Street
Omotesando, the most lively shopping street in Miyajima, is this area's main street. The soft and sweet Momiji Manju, Hiroshima's classic souvenir, Miyajima's specialty juicy oysters and anago rice with exquisite sauce can be eaten here. There are also Miyajima's specialty shakushi (cooking scoops) for souvenirs as well as goods with shakushi motifs.
Omotesando Shopping Street's Specialty: Giant Shakushi
The largest scoop in the world, with 7.7 meters and 2.5 tons, is exhibited in a corner on the Omotesando shopping street. Miyajima is known as the origin of shakushi and this giant scoop was completed after two years and ten months using Miyajima's traditional shakushi-making techniques. It was installed in 1996.
In contrast to the lively Omotesando shopping street, Machiya Dori still maintains the old townscape and is another recommended spot within Miyajima. This street once enjoyed high prosperity. Today, it has a nostalgic atmosphere with a lot of old traditional houses. Take a relaxing tour while riding in a rickshaw.
Miyajima Gourmet's Classic: Momiji Manju
Known around the country as Miyajima's specialty is the maple-shaped momiji manju (steamed bun with filling). There are various stores on the Omotesando shopping street, such as Iwamura Momiji-ya, a historic store established in the Meiji period. For those looking for something unique, the deep fried momiji in "Momiji Nibanya" is recommended. It is a new concept of serving momiji manju as a tempura.
Enjoy Miyajima’s Seafood: Oysters and Anago-Meshi
You definitely want to eat oysters in Miyajima, with its rich seafood from the Seto Inland Sea. Fresh oysters can be enjoyed throughout the year in “Okino Suisan” located in the Omotesando shopping street. The anago-meshi (anago on rice), eaten in Miyajima since 100 years ago, is also recommended. Appreciate this dish in “Anago-meshi Ueno,” the origin of anago-meshi, established in 1901. Anago-meshi Ueno is located in Miyajima-guchi, where the ferry headed to Miyajima stops.