On an island just a short trip away from Hiroshima city, you can see one of the most iconic scenes in Japan, the Torii gate of the Itsukushima shrine on Miyajima Island (officially known as Itsukushima Island). The Torii gate is famous as it stands out on the beach and at high tide appears to be floating on the sea, while at low tide you can walk out along the beach to see it up close.
Getting to Miyajima is easy from Hiroshima city, just a ride on the tram to the station and a short ferry ride across to the island. When you arrive one of the first things you’ll notice are the deer that roam freely around the island. In Japan deer are considered sacred and so they are left to walk around and are often fed by the tourists although the local government is trying to cut down on this to encourage the deer to become a little wilder again, as the population on the island has been getting a little too high and the deer a little too bold in trying to get food from people!
Walking through the town along the coast you soon have a great view of the famous Torii gate! If you look online you can check the times of the tides to make sure you catch the shrine at either high or low tide. If you time it right you can see it at both, one before and one after climbing Mount Misen and seeing what else the island has to offer as there’s not only the shrine on the island to see. If you walk past the shrine and up the hill you can take the cable car or hike up to the top of the mountain. Even from the top of the cable car ride there’s still a bit of a trek to go though and a few worthwhile sights along the way.
As you make your way to the summit you’ll go past a few shrines and religious spots, one of the most interesting of which is the Reikado or hall of the spiritual flame. There is a fire there that has been burning for hundreds of years since it was first lit by the famous Buddhist figure Kobo Daishi. It was even used to start Hiroshima Peace Park’s Flame of Peace. Once you get to the summit there’s an incredible view over the island and the sea so it’s definitely worth taking the time to trek up and see, if you keep your eyes open you can sometimes even spot the occasional wild monkey before you head back down!
Miyajima: The Island where God dwells