Nature & culture
Miyajima has been considered a holy place for most of Japanese history. In 806 AD, the monk Kōbō Daishi ascended Mt. Misen and established the mountain as an ascetic site for the Shingon sect of Buddhism. In the years since, the island’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines have maintained a close relationship. In the past, women were not allowed on the island and old people were shipped elsewhere to die, so that the ritual purity of the site would not be spoiled.
Miyajima is a romantic place, best enjoyed by staying overnight at one of the island’s ryokan. There are many day tourists, but in the evening the area becomes much quieter and peaceful. There are wild deer on the island that have become accustomed to people. In the day the deer wander around the same sites as the tourists, and in the evening they sleep along the walking paths.
Miyajima is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on top of the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan’s three best views. Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a large, red-lacquered complex of halls and pathways on stilts, originally so built that commoners could visit without defiling the island with their footprints. Weddings are occasionally held at the shrine, but that doesn’t bar visitors, and the priest’s ceremonial dance is a memorable sight.
You can also climb Mt. Mi-sen from there by ropeway or on foot along a climbing path. From the mountaintop, you can enjoy the beautiful scene of the numerous islands of the Seto Inland Sea. There are bathing beaches with campsites around the island, and sea bathers throng to the island in summer.
- From JR Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station by JR Sanyo train (25 min)
Miyajima on our Google map