Miyajima Travel Guide   宮島

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Fireworks near the sanctuary itsukushima in Miyajima

Fireworks (hanabi) near Itsukushima Shrine.

Miyajima torii

The torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine.

Miyajima

Miyajima ropeway.

Miyajima, momiji manju

The momiji manju, a delicate cake-like maple leaf

Beautiful Sea Island

A visit to Hiroshima can be tiring for the mind. To clear your head and reconnect with nature, take a ferry to the island paradise of Miyajima.

While oyster farms pass by in front of the passengers, the coast grows closer and a small red dot stands out: the torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, one of the most visited sites in Japan. Red from head to toe, it proudly lets the waves break against its unshakable pillars, fearless in the face of winds and tides. The ferry passes in front of the monument, and then moves on 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 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 mountainside in fall.

Tourists usually spend the day on the island and leave in the late afternoon. But our advice for Miyajima is to take a little more time and spend a night in one of the traditional inns (ryokan) on the island. Admire the sunset near the famous 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, friendly, and very skilled at stealing food!

When you're hungry, the island has numerous restaurants offering a wide variety of dishes, in particular oyster based dishes, the star produce of the region. For dessert, the specialty of the island: the momiji manju, a delicate cake shaped like a maple leaf stuffed with red bean paste (azuki) that comes in various flavors. Cut off from the rest of the world, Miyajima's idyllic bubble is hard to leave once you have discovered its many charms.