Taking a Day Trip from Hiroshima to Miyajima

ByJustin Hanus
Oct 24, 2022

Taking a Day Trip from Hiroshima to Miyajima

One of the most popular destinations to visit from Hiroshima is Miyajima. Officially called Itsukushima, the island has a collection of temples and shrines — including the iconic Itsukushima Shrine — and is home to wild deer. It’s an ideal place for a day trip while you’re in Hiroshima.

Reaching Miyajima from Hiroshima

If you have a JR Pass, the best way to reach Miyajima may be to take the JR Sanyo line to Miyajimaguchi and then the JR Miyajima Ferry. The ferry trip lasts just 10 minutes.

If you don’t have a JR Pass, you may prefer to take a ferry directly from Hiroshima. From downtown Hiroshima, it’s less than a 10-minute walk to Motoyasubashi Pier next to the Peace Memorial Park, where you can take the Aquanet Direct Ferry. The journey takes about 40 minutes (depending on the tide), and it’s a scenic route.

A final option is to take the First Beach Co. Ltd. ferry from Hiroshima Port, which stops at the Grand Prince Hotel Hiroshima and sometimes at Kannon Pier and The Outlets Hiroshima.
You may find it’s worth buying a Hiroshima Tourist Pass, including ferries, buses, and streetcars in Hiroshima and Miyajima.

Itsukushima Shrine

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Itsukushima Shrine was initially constructed in 593 AD. It comprises 20 buildings (all of which sit on the water) connected by boardwalks.

The highlight of Itsukushima Shrine has to be the torii gate, which appears to float on the water at high tide. You can walk out to the gate at low tide — be careful about the changing tides. The first torii gate in this position was built in the 12th century, whereas the current one dates back to the 19th century. The gate will be under repair until December 2022, when it receives a new coating of vermilion paint, a replacement roof, and repairs to the wood.

Sacred Deer

The wild deer that roam around Miyajima are sacred, as they are believed to be messengers from the gods. Visitors are welcome to feed them deer food purchased from stalls on the island, but you shouldn’t give them any human food as this can make them sick.

Mount Misen

If you want to hike on the island, head to Mount Misen — the highest mountain on Miyajima. (You can also take a ropeway if you’d rather not walk.) When there are few clouds in the sky, the summit offers fantastic views of the island and coastline. Be sure to visit Daisho-in Temple on your way up as it’s among the most important temples in Shingon Buddhism and features metal wheels with sutra along the stairs. If you spin these wheels as you ascend, you’ll gain the same benefits as reading the scriptures.

Miyajima is only a small island, but it’s definitely worth visiting while you’re in Hiroshima. Although it’s most famous for the floating vermilion gate, there’s plenty to do here to make a fun day trip.

Balon Greyjoy, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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