【Hiroshima】Your Guide to the Top 15 Must-Visit Sites in Miyajima!
Miyajima Island is a popular tourist destination in Hiroshima. It is famous for Itsukushima Shrine, which is a World Heritage Site, but there are many other spots that you should see in the region. With that, here are some of the recommended spots that will make you enjoy Miyajima even more!
- What kind of place in Miyajima?
- 1. Take in the breadth of the island scenery from atop Mt. Misen
- 2. Visit Kiyomori Shrine, a holy site beloved by the local islanders
- 3. Take a souvenir photo at Toyokuni Shrine (Senjokaku and Goju-no-to)
- 4. Marvel at the Daisho-in Temple
- 5. Get in touch with nature at Momijidani Park
- 6. Head to 'Kakiya' to sample the oysters, an island delicacy
- 7. Get up-close with some aquatic life at the aquarium
- 8. Enjoy Anago-meshi at Ueno
- 9. Head to the top of the mountain aboard the Miyajima Ropeway
- 10. Learn about history at the Miyajima History and Folk Museum
- 11. Stroll the Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street
- 12. Eat Okonomiyaki at Daruma no Hasshou
- 13. Stroll along Machiya Street
- 14. Enjoy a dip in an onsen at Hotel Miyajima Villa
- 15. Pay visit to Daigan-ji Temple
What kind of place in Miyajima?
Miyajima is the name of the island found within the town limits of Miyajima Town, Hatsukaichi City in Hiroshima. While it has been lovingly dubbed Miyajima, did you know that its actual name is Itsukushima? Itsukushima is home to one of the most instantly recognisable World Heritage Sites in Japan, the Itsukushima Shrine. Many people visit from both inside Japan and from all of the world to gaze upon the mysterious and other-worldly sight of the large Shinto shrine archway that appears to float up from beneath the water's surface. Of course, when visiting Miyajima, this shrine is a must-see. However, there are in fact a plethora of other spots that cannot be missed dotted around the island. Here are some of the other attractions on Miyajima outside of Itsukushima Shrine, that you should be sure to visit.
Getting there：Alight at JR Miyajimaguchi Station→ Ferry (Approximately 10 minutes)→Arrive at Miyajima
1. Take in the breadth of the island scenery from atop Mt. Misen
Mt. Misen is the highest peak of Miyajima Island, having an elevation of about 535m. Countless strange rocks and bizarre stones, big and small, are scattered on this mountain, and they have been deified as objects of faith since ancient times. For that reason, much of the nature here remain untouched. In particular, the Misen Primeval Forest, the evergreen broad-leaved forest in the hinterland of Itsukushima Shrine, is home to various plants, and is said to be a microcosm of Japan's nature. This forest has been designated as a national natural treasure and a World Heritage Site. There are also temples on this mountain, such as Misen Hondo Hall, which has a history spanning more than 1,200 years, and Sankido Hall that enshrines the only demon god in Japan. Furthermore, there is an observation deck with a 360-degree panoramic view at the summit, treating visitors to a view of Seto Inland Sea, and even the Shikoku mountain range on a clear day.
2. Visit Kiyomori Shrine, a holy site beloved by the local islanders
Kiyomori is a shrine that is located in Nishi-Matsubara, along the coast to the west of Itsukushima Shrine. The deity enshrined here is Taira no Kiyomori (1118 – 1181), a famous military commander that every Japanese knows. Leader of the Taira clan, he was a mighty commander who took full control of the Imperial Court. Kiyomori was actually the one who began the construction of the current stately Shaden (main building of the shrine) of Itsukushima Shrine. He also laid down the foundation to Miyajima's prosperity, so he continues to be loved by the local people to this day. 2018 marked a major milestone for this shrine as it was the 900th year since the birth of Kiyomori.
3. Take a souvenir photo at Toyokuni Shrine (Senjokaku and Goju-no-to)
Senjokaku (Toyokuni Shrine), the largest structure of Miyajima Island, was built in 1587 under the orders of the military commander Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536 – 1598). A portion of the shrine was never completed due to the death of Hideyoshi, but it still assumes a majestic appearance thanks to the luxurious designs such as the roof tiles adorned in gold foil.
Goju-no-to (five-storied pagoda) is a pagoda that sits beside Senjokaku. It is a 27.6m-high vermillion-painted building that was built in 1407, and is characterized by its architectural design that fuses Japanese and Chinese designs. It is a picturesque structure, and thus home to a lot of popular photography spots where you can take a photo of it with Itsukushima Shrine or an up-close shot, taken at an upward-looking angle.
Admission fee to Senjokaku: Adult/senior high school: 100 JPY, Elementary/junior high school: 50 JPY
4. Marvel at the Daisho-in Temple
Daisho-in is the oldest temple on Miyajima, with a history stretching back more than 1,200 years. It is the leading temple of the Omuro school of the Shingon sect, and boasts a prestigious status, as evidenced in its being chosen as the accommodation for the Emperor on his visit. This temple is characterized by the fact that it enshrines a lot of Buddhist images such as Juichi-men Kannon Bosatsu (11-headed Kannon) and Fudo Myoo (Acala, one of the Five Wisdom Kings). Inside, one of the things you have to see is the Ichigan Taishi. Said to be the Buddha that grants just one wish, this statue is very popular among worshippers. There are many other must-see spots inside the temple, including the Kannondo Hall, the largest structure within the temple precinct. It will take at least an hour to even just glance over the highlights of the temple.
5. Get in touch with nature at Momijidani Park
Momijidani Park is sprawled along Momijidani River, at the foot of Mt. Misen. Famous as a spot for fall colors, there are about 700 Japanese maple trees planted here. Many tourists come to this park to view the autumn foliage during the peak viewing season from mid-November until late November. You can enjoy nature every season, as aside from the autumn leaves in the fall, the sakura (cherry blossoms) are also beautiful during spring and there is fresh verdure in summer. During early summer, the gorgeous view of Momiji Bridge at the entrance of the park is recommended. The beautiful contrast between the green trees and the vermilion bridge is not to be missed.
6. Head to 'Kakiya' to sample the oysters, an island delicacy
Hiroshima is known for its oysters. On Miyajima, there are a number of oyster restaurants where you can sample extremely fresh oysters. One such restaurant is Kakiya (lit. oyster store). It is the only restaurant on the island that specialises exclusively in oysters. The highest quality oysters are selected and served up in the kind of delicious meals that you will not find anywhere else. The meals are simply prepared, meaning that costs are cut while at the same time offering patrons the chance to truly focus on the delicious taste of the oysters themselves. The [Tokusen Kaki Fry] (Specially selected fried oysters) (1,500 JPY, incl. tax) and [Yaki kaki] (Grilled oysters) (250 JPY, incl. tax (per oyster)) will allow you to enjoy the beautiful taste of oysters to your heart's content.
7. Get up-close with some aquatic life at the aquarium
The Miyajima Aquarium focuses on providing experiences to customers and allowing them to really get up close to the aquatic life on display there. Visitors will get the chance to meet the fish of the Seto Inland Sea as well as penguins and seals, among other sea mammals. In total, there are more than 350 different types of animals to meet at the aquarium. Given its location rising out of the Seto Inland Sea, it's the kind of aquarium that could only exist on Miyajima. Both children and adults alike will lose track of time as they enjoy their stroll through the aquarium.
Entry Fees: Adults and high school students - 1,420 JPY, Elementary and middle-school students - 710 JPY, Infants from 4 and up - 400 JPY
8. Enjoy Anago-meshi at Ueno
Oysters are not the only delicacy in Hiroshima. Anago-meshi (broiled conger eel on top of rice) is another dish that has been traditionally loved by the people of the prefecture down through the generations. Ueno, was founded in 1901 and has been serving up and protecting its traditional recipe for anago-meshi for more than 100 years. The top-pick from their menu is the [Anago-meshi Bento (regular)] (2,160 JPY, incl. tax) which has been served at the restaurant since they first opened their doors. There is so much delicious food to try on Miyajima that you may struggle to get through it all. That's precisely why the bento is a great choice because you can take it home with you and enjoy it at your own pace. There are also other options available for those sitting down inside the restaurant, such as a small serving of anago-meshi for 1,950 JPY (incl. tax) and [Anago no Kabayaki]* (1,300 JPY, incl. tax).
* Kabayki refers to a way of preparing longer fish such as eels where they are cut open and their bones removed before they are basted in a sauce made from soy sauce and rice wine vinegar and the broiled.
9. Head to the top of the mountain aboard the Miyajima Ropeway
At the start of the article, you heard about Mt. Misen but if you want to go there then it is recommended that you hop on the 'Miyajima Ropeway'. The entrance to the cable cars is found at Momijidani Station. You will stop at Kayatani Station on your way to Shishiwa Station, all the while taking in the beautiful views of the island. The sight of the expansive nature of the island and the Seto Inland Sea when viewed from the summit is particularly breathtaking. While you can scale the summit of the mountain on foot, if you are looking to save time, then why not board the cable cars?
Cost：Adults (12 years old (Middle-school age) and up) - 1,800 JPY (Return), Children (6 -12 years old (Elementary school age)) - 900 JPY (Return)
10. Learn about history at the Miyajima History and Folk Museum
Miyajima has been selected as one of the 'Three Views of Japan' meaning that that quality of its scenery is assured, however, it is also a town that has its fair share of history and surviving culture. At the Miyajima History and Folk Museum visitors can experience the history and culture of the locality through the plethora of exhibits on display. The most impressive sight on display here is the Kyu-egamike Jutaku. It is a traditional Japanese style townhouse built in the first half of the 1800s and it is still standing to this day. It was previously used as a soy sauce factory. There are 6 different buildings on site housing documents and they include exhibitions about the famous woodworking industry on the island and exhibits of the tools used in this industry. There are also documents housed here about the famous historical figure on the island known as Taira no Kiyomori (a 12th century military leader). If you learn more about the history of the island, it will only heighten your enjoyment of the time you spend here!
Entry fees: Adults - 300 JPY, High-school students - 170 JPY, Elementary and middle-school students - Free
11. Stroll the Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street
If you are out for a walk on the island than a must-see stop on your route is the Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street. The street features a wide variety of souvenir stores at which you can get your hands on some of the traditional crafts of Miyajima, such as a Miyajima Shakushi (a bamboo ladle used in the kitchen for tasks like scooping up rice), as well as snacks and other cute trinkets. You will also find places to eat local delicacies like momiji manju (Steamed buns shaped like maple leaves) and oysters. They look so good that you'll find yourself grabbing for more before you can stop yourself. If you are looking to buy souvenirs or sample some local treats that you need to get yourself to the Miyajima Omotesando Shopping Street.
12. Eat Okonomiyaki at Daruma no Hasshou
If you are travelling to Miyajima than you simply can't return home without sampling the okonomiyaki (savoury pancakes made with meat and vegetables). Daruma no Hassho is the kind of place that is not just frequented by tourists but also beloved by the local residents on the island. The ingredients used in the okonomiyaki vary depending on the region in which it is made. Okonomiyaki made in Hiroshima uses a large amount of cabbage and bean sprouts, as well as adding noodles to give the pancakes a heft. At Daruma no Hasshou you can make your own style of okonomiyaki by adding toppings such as cheese, oysters and onions to the basic pancake batter. The menu has a wealth of other options for you to enjoy also, such as the most simple arrangement, [Niku, Tamago (Soba or Udon)] (Meat and eggs with soba or udon) (880 JPY, incl. tax) or the more luxurious [Deluxe (soba or udon)] (2,100 JPY, incl. tax) which is bursting with fresh seafood.
13. Stroll along Machiya Street
Machiya Street is lined with buildings that exude both a historical and a distinctly modern feel. There are stores, accomodation and galleries all available on this street. In times gone by, this street was known as "Honmachi Suji"(the muscle of the town) and flourished as the Main Street on Miyajima Island. While some characteristics of times gone by remain on the street a disctinctly modern sensibility also flows through it, giving rise to a unique atmosphere. From one corner of the street you can catch a glimpse of a five tier pagoda. Make sure to take in the amazing surrounding architecture as you stroll on Machiya Street.
14. Enjoy a dip in an onsen at Hotel Miyajima Villa
At Hotel Miyajima Villa there is an onsen that you can enjoy even if on a day trip. Seto Inland Sea will stretch out before your eyes as you bathe, giving rise to a feeling of openness, as you get pleasantly lost in the vastness of your surrounds. The floors of this onsen are somewhat unusual as they made from tatami*. This gives the onsen an extremely refined and classy feel. Onsen are said to help loosen stiff shoulders and provide tired bathers with a boost of energy, so if you find yourself wilting after a long walk, then a steepin a hot spring will you get back to your best.
※Tatami are a type of traditional Japanese flooring made from woven reeds.
Opening times: 3:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Price: Adult - 1,200 JPY (incl. tax) Children - 600 JPY (incl. tax), Children under school going age - 300 JPY (incl. tax)
※Including the cost of a set of bath towels
15. Pay visit to Daigan-ji Temple
Daigan-ji Temple is located adjacent to Ikutsushima Shrine. It is counted among Japan's 'Three Great Shrines of Benzaiten' (a Japanese buddhist deity who originated from the HIndu goddess Saraswati) and is said to bring worshippers good fortune in their finances. Daigan-ji Temple is known as a spot of mystical power on the island and is therefore visited by large numbers of the faithful. The temple grounds are quite expansive and beyond the solemn and dignified main hall of the temple, visitors are also recommended to take the time to stroll around the grounds and view the many Buddhist statues that dot the landscape, as well as the majestic pine trees.
Aside from the spots featured above, there are many other attractive spots on Miyajima Island. Be sure to enjoy the whole island, and not just Itsukushima Shrine.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
- #Amazing Views
- #Anago Meshi in Miyajima
- #Aquariums | Zoos
- #Beautiful Natural Scenery
- #Botanical Gardens | Parks
- #Day-Trip Bathing (Onsen)
- #Itsukushima Shrine
- #Local Specialty Foods
- #Okonomiyaki in Hiroshima
- #Remote Islands
- #Shopping Districts | Markets
- #Temples and Shrines
- #Traditional Regional Cuisine
- #Traditional Streetscapes
- #Visit Hiroshima
- #Visit the Chugoku region
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