The Great Torii ‘Itsukushima’
The Great Torii is a free-standing gate in the middle of the sea, part of the Itsukushima Shrine. It is a Shinto Shrine considered to be the boundary between the spirits and human world. The best part of this shrine is that it looks as if it is floating in water. Make sure when visiting Miyajima to go during higher tide, to view the Great Torii while it’s surrounded by water.
The history museum preserves the culture and traditions of Miyajima Island through the preservation of the home of the Egamis, a notable merchant farming family. It holds photographs, poetry, wooden artifacts, pottery, furniture and tools, all artifacts that showcase the history and traditions of the family. There is a small entrance fee of 300 yen with discounts for students offered as well.
This is the main visitor’s street on Miyajima Island. It is filled with gift shops, restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream shops, candy stores, art and historical artifacts. You can get a good taste of some of the culture of Hiroshima from hanging out on this street. You can also see the worlds largest wooden rice spoon, O-Shakushi, on this street.
Eat Momiji Manjyu
Momiji Manjyu is a sweet bean paste candy that is made fresh all over the island and is a popular treat in this area, Miyajima Island is known as the place to get these candies. These desserts come in different flavors such as strawberry, green tea and chocolate, but the most popular is the original sweet bean flavor.
There are deer all over the island. They are tame and friendly and will only bother you for food. But beware, feed them once and they will be following you around the rest of your visit. The deer are said to be sacred and holy, and messengers of the Gods according to the Shinto Religion.
Mt. Misen is the island’s tallest mountain. It gives you great views of the island and sits amongst the forest of trees. You can hike to the top or ride the ropeway to the observation deck. There are three different hiking paths you can take on this island: The Momijidani Course, the Daisho-in Course and the Omoto Course. Each of the courses takes you up Mount Misen and is about a two hour trek. The ropeway can be taken for a small fee and is about a 20 minute ride to top, but once at the top there is still a bit of walking to get you to the observation deck. Along the trails or at the top, you may be greeted by the occasional monkey or deer at this site.
The Daisho-in temple is a beautiful Buddhist Temple located on Miyajima, hidden within the trees. There are many different parts to this temple. Here you can find many different symbolic Buddhas, shrines, prayer wheels and places of worship. Plus, once at the top of the temple you have a great view of the island while enjoying all the incredible details of the temple.
Miyajima Island contains an aquarium displaying the local sea life present near Miyajima Island. Oysters are especially popular in the Hiroshima Prefecture. Tickets may be purchased for entry for 1,400 yen for adults, 700 yen for high school and middle school students and 400 yen for younger students. There are many opportunities for hands-on experiences at this aquarium, from holding starfish to petting penguins.
The five-story Pagoda is a sight to behold. This structure was restored in 1533 and stands at 27.6 meters high. It is most well-known for housing the Buddha of Medicine. This structure sits proudly near the water, and is even more picturesque if you visit during cherry blossom season, when it is surrounded by blossoming trees.
The Cultural Heritage Shop
Stop by here to learn more about the history and culture of Miyajima island. For a minimal fee, you can participate in an arts and crafts class where you learn to recreate some of the more famous Japanese cultural items, such as a decorating a wooden rice spoon or making your own Momiji Manjyu. This is a great spot to learn about some of the traditions and history of Miyajima Island through hands-on experiences.