Officially named Itsukushima (厳島), Miyajima is an island in the western Inland Sea of Japan (Seto Naikai), located northwest of Hiroshima prefecture. It is also known as the sacred island, literally meaning the Shrine Island, where visitors can sense the harmony between humans and nature. Not only for all those, who are looking for spiritual experience, but also for all those, who want to enjoy a very peaceful Japanese lifestyle, rest their eyes and relax their mind from metropolitan routine, Miyajima is a must-visit place.
You can get to in Miyajima from Hiroshima station, taking JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station. Then, you take the ferry from Miyajimaguchi to Miyajima Pier, which will take approximately 36 minutes. Or you can access it from Hiroshima Airport, taking the airport limousine bus to Hiroshima Station, changing for JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station, and then, taking the ferry from Miyajimaguchi to Miyajima Pier, which will take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
It is curious that there are no traffic signals in there, as a rural and mountainous area, Miyajima is very attractive for walking or hiking. The well-preserved nature with beautiful parks and gardens is bountiful with cherry trees (Sakura) and maple trees (Momiji), which compose the most breathtaking view during spring and autumn. Because of all this, Miyajima is considered a sacred area, trees are not cut, and animals run freely, especially deers, which are considered to be the messengers of Goods.
The main street is Omote-Sando. There, you can find special souvenirs made from local products reflecting the respect and gratitude of the community to the Gods and nature. The most popular gift is a sweet named Momiji manju, which shape resembles the maple leaf, and it is filled with various fillings, such as cheese, chocolate and traditional Japanese red beans (azuki). It is so delicious that I cannot describe it! Other souvenirs you will only find in Miyajima are the wooden spoons, called shamoji, created by a monk long time ago. Recently I got the information from my friend that some people believe the shamoji enhances the taste of rice. I will try to get one next time.
From Omote-Sando street, you can access the Itsukushima Shrine. The first view is amazing no matter the time of the day(morning or afternoon). The great Torii calls a lot of attention, but it does not suppress the magnificence of the Shrine, built in the sixteenth century. This is the most famous. Depending on the levels of the tide, both Torii and Shrine seem to be floating in the ocean, and compose spectacular scenario. The orange of the Shrine, the blue of sea and shades of green of the Misen Mountain make this place uplifting!
Miyajima is not only one of the “Three Most Beautiful Spots” in Japan, but also a place where the Gods dwell.
Check it out yourself!