- Getting There – Take Train or Ferry from Hiroshima
- Currency – Japanese Yen (¥)
- Language – Japanese
- Population – 2,000
Itsukushima – Miyajima
Located only an hour away by train and then ferry from Hiroshima, Itsukushima is one of the most iconic sites in Japan, hence its nickname “Miyajima,” which is Japanese for “Shrine Island.” The island is well known for its torii gate, a massive shrine that appears to float on the Seto Inland Sea, but there is so much more to see on Miyajima during your visit.
How Do I Get There?
The best way to get to Miyajima is to take Japan Rail from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi, and then take the ferry from there to the island. Not only is it a short trip, it’s also a remarkably inexpensive one, costing less than $10 each way.
Getting Around Miyajima
The ferry terminal is a ten-minute walk from the Itsukushima Shrine, and all other sites are within walking distance from there. Just be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!
Miyajima Island is a holy site of Shinto, as symbolized by its shrine and torii gate. Though picturesque during the day, the shrine is even more magical at night when it’s illuminated. Though the shrine closes at sunset, you can still get beautiful pictures while cruising around the island.
There are three hiking trails leading up to the island’s highest peak, which rises half a kilometer above sea level. The mountain is a massive Buddhist holy site and promises incredible views of the entire island. It takes about 1.5 hours to climb the mountain, so you should wear light layers and comfy shoes, and bring lots of water.
Located at the base of Mount Misen, the temple is where Kobo Daishi first began practicing Shingon Buddhism. Here you can view religious artifacts and enjoy hot tea before or after your trip up Mount Misen.
Popular Japanese Dishes
Though there aren’t many dining options on the island itself, here are some staples of Japanese cuisine that you should try during your visit:
- Sushi: raw fish served with vinegar-seasoned sushi rice and veggies
- Onigiri: rice balls
- Chahan: Japanese fried rice
- Soba: buckwheat noodles served either hot or cold with meat and/or veggies
- Teppanyaki: meat, seafood, & vegetables prepared on a teppan, a large iron grill
- Miso soup: miso paste dissolved in dashi (fish stock) & served with seaweed or tofu
- Bento: boxed meals that usually consist of meat, fish, veggies, and rice
Miyajima’s Friendly Deer
While walking around the island and taking in the sites, be on the lookout for deer. Miyajima’s deer are used to people enjoying their island, and will often approach tourists. Don’t be shy; they just want to say hello!
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