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Miyajima Travel Guide

Miyajima torii

Hanabi near the Itsukushima Shrine.

Miyajima torii

The torii of Itsukushima Shrine.


Miyajima ropeway.

Miyajima, momiji manju

The momiji manju, a delicate brioche-like maple leaf

Beautiful Sea Island

The visit to Hiroshima can be tiring for the mind. To clear your head and to reconcile with nature, take a ferry to an island paradise: Miyajima Island.

While oyster farms pass by in front of the passengers, the coast becomes closer and a small red dot stands out: the gate of Itsukushima Shrine , one of Japan's most visited sites. Blushing from  head to toe, it proudly lets the waves break against its unshakable pillars, which are also fearless of winds and tides. The ferry passes in front of the monument, and then moves away to unload its human cargo at the terminal. The vermilion rush begins: everyone hurries so as not to miss the tide and enjoy the spectacle of a shrine at sea, built on stilts.

A Night With The Deer

But Miyajima Island (formerly Itsukushima until the sacred place took its name) boasts many other wonders. An ascent of Mount Misen, the mountain dominating the landscape, provides the opportunity to cross the beautiful Momiji-dani valley of maples, whose colors light up the sky in fall.

Tourists usually spend the day on the island and leave late afternoon. But our advice for Miyajima is to take the time and to spend one night in one of the traditional inns (ryokan). The sunset near the immersed torii creates a poetry of colors, a moment that the deer that inhabit the island will come and share with you. Feel free to stroke them, they are docile, loving and very skilled at stealing food.

When you are hungry, the island has numerous restaurants with a wide variety of dishes, and in particular oyster based dishes, the star produce of the region. For dessert, the specialty of the island: the momiji manju, a delicate brioche-like maple leaf stuffed with red bean paste (azuki) that comes in many forms. Cut off from the rest of the world, this green bubble is hard to leave once you have discovered its many charms.

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