Miyajima Island is situated outside of Hiroshima, Japan and offers visitors a pleasant and serene visit.
After taking a short train journey of no more than twenty minutes from central Hiroshima to the pier, I boarded a ferry that would transport me off the mainland and towards the small island.
Upon arriving on the island I was surprised to see so many deer wandering the quaint paths. There were deer everywhere and they even queued up at a kiosk in a very orderly line. It was very amusing to see deer chase people who were carrying food. However, not all the deer were savage food craving monsters as some were sleeping peacefully next to bushes.
Seeing the deer happily co-exist on the island with its human inhabitants and tourists was very pleasing and it made for a nice change to see wildlife up close.
The island of Miyajima is famous for its “floating” Torii gate. The gate, when it’s high tide, gives the impression of it floating effortlessly above the seas lapping waves. The reality however, is that it is built into the ground and once the tide retreats the “trick” is revealed. I would definitely recommend going to see the gate during high tide as it is extremely beautiful to stare at as Hiroshima glistens in the distance.
For those who choose to stay on the island then it is possible to kayak around and through the gate, something which I observed from ashore.
The Torii gate is part of the Itsukushima Shrine on the island. I have found Japanese temples to be very bland and this one was no exception. The saving grace, in the eyes of a visitor, is that the temple is next to the water and therefore an air of calm descends and it’s nice and peaceful to meander around the bare shrine…that is until a ferry load of school children descend on to the island.
I walked through the shrine onto the other side and poked my nose into a few souvenir stalls. The owners are not pushy and this is great as I cannot stand the barrage of noise coming from a salesperson. The whole vibe of the island is relaxed and tranquil. There is no need to hurry yourself.
With a tummy yearning to process food I went and purchased an island delicacy, Momiji Manjyu. It is a sweet treat in the shape of a maple leaf that can contain numerous things inside such as red bean, custard and maccha. I chose mine to be filled with ice cream because it was hot and I’m childish. It was a very nice, simple snack that I would definitely have again. It was nothing overtly special but it was good enough. Later on in the day, I purchased a non-ice cream one and that was delicious.
The island is extremely lush and there are many hiking paths. I didn’t intend to hike the island but I took a little scenic stroll. I wandered up some steep stone steps and saw a machine which I thought would consist of food to feed the deer (having recently been to Taiwan where similar looking machines dispensed fish food I thought my reasoning was as good as Sherlock Holmes). Oh contraire! The dispenser was a fortune teller that only dispensed in Japanese. Oi vey.
The island was getting busier as lunchtime emerged and the peaceful little getaway was fading.
I decided to explore the old town and see how the locals live. Walking down the narrow streets a local man smiled and appeared to ask me something in Japanese. I smiled back in delight without the faintest idea of what he had said, but I got the feeling that the islands inhabitants were very friendly.
I made my way through the back streets and towards the five storey pagoda where I decided that Hiroshima was calling. I was only here for one day and I had spent half a day exploring the island.
The island has many more attractions to explore for those wishing to stay longer including an aquarium, numerous hikes and a cable car. I was very satisfied with my trip here and would recommend it to anyone stopping by Hiroshima.
- The Torii Gate is best viewed during high tide so make sure to research when this is
- The ferry is free to those carrying the correct Japan Rail Pass
Amazing Race Destinations:
The Torii Gate
All pictures taken by myself. Follow me on Instagram: arik_dane