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Miyajima: The Island Gem of Hiroshima, Japan

Michael Ho, Owner & Travel Guide, Premiere Journeys
August, 2018

Visiting Hiroshima, Japan, provides the perfect opportunity to experience all that Japan has to offer. Whether a nature tour by land or sea, an afternoon in a quaint yet modern cafe, or a quest to sample all the region’s cuisine, Hiroshima offers everything and more. 


The true gem of Hiroshima, however, lies a short, 10-minute ferry ride away. The pristine island of Miyajima is truly the best of both worlds. Home to a small community of locals, tourists are drawn to Miyajima to experience one of Japan’s many UNESCO World Heritage sites–Itsukushima Shrine. Standing around 16.8 meters tall, Itsukushima Shrine was first built in 1168 a few hundred meters offshore. Today, a reconstructed shrine stands proudly in the water as a testament to Japan’s tenacity and the prayers of Shinto priests for calm and safe seas.

Japanese Sweets
Photo Credit: Live Japan


As soon as you dock on Miyajima island, you arrive at the heart of the island’s many shops and restaurants. The warm scent of traditional Hiroshima sweets, or momiji manju, fill the air. Traditional Japanese Souvenirs, photo opportunities, and snacks are plentiful in this centrally-located village.

Wild deer roam the sand as you approach the looming beauty of Itsukushima Shrine.”

Miyajima Island Deer
Photo credit: Reddy or Knot

Itsukushima Shrine (UNESCO)

Once you have drinks and snacks in hand, the fresh sea breeze invites visitors to explore the coastline. Wild deer roam the sand as you approach the looming beauty of Itsukushima Shrine. Provided you have a camera or cell phone, Locals will often offer to take your photo for free. This spot is incredibly popular and encompasses all the natural beauty of the island in a single shot.

As you continue along the coastal trail, you are encouraged to explore the rest of the Itsukushima Shrine. Known for their tradition ‘Noh’ performances, the main quarters of Itsukushima Shrine appear to float on the surface of the sea. The corridors are spacious and overlook the water, while small bridges peak over gardens and vibrant koi ponds.

Miyajima Island
Photo credit: Reddy or Knot

Mt. Misen

For those feeling adventurous, the coastal path continues and becomes a short, twenty-minute hike to the island’s sole ropeway station. There is also a local bus available for those who would like to visit the mountainous peaks of Miyajima without the excess sweating or blisters. Once you arrive at the station, Miyajima’s highest peak, Mt. Misen, is but a 15-minute ropeway ride away. While resting on your ride up to the peak, the entire port and coastline of mainline Hiroshima are visible from the windows of the ropeway shuttle.

Once you have arrived at the top of Mt. Misen, you are free to enjoy Shi-shi Iwa Observatory, Daisho-in Temple, or explore the hiking trails further. Mt. Misen is said to be a spiritual place where Buddhism was first practiced in Japan. Take in the historical sights while enjoying the breathtaking view from above. When you are ready to leave, the ropeway shuttles depart every 1-2 minutes.

Mt. Misen hike
Photo credit: Hike.io

The island of Miyajima is home to one of Japan’s most awe-inspiring UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is only a short ferry ride from the main port of Hiroshima, and is a quick, yet fulfilling stop not too far from Hiroshima’s other UNESCO site–the Atomic Bomb Dome. Take in the beauty of Japan’s nature, and dine on local sweets or delicacies from the sea. Create unforgettable memories on your trip to the ancient island of Miyajima.   

Premiere Journeys upcoming Japan Sights, Culture and Cuisine group tour departs on September 22nd and ends on October 6th, 2018. Towards the end of our tour, we will visit the island of Miyajima where you can see the beauty of this island for yourself! Contact Premier Journeys and book your trip to Japan today!

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