Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima Island, is one of the most charming and picturesque destinations in Japan. Located in the Seto Inland Sea, this island is famous for its floating torii gate and is considered one of the three most beautiful views in Japan. However, there’s much more to Miyajima than just the stunning torii gate, and if you’re planning a trip to Japan, Miyajima should definitely be on your must-visit list. Here are ten amazing things to do in Miyajima that will guarantee you have a memorable and unforgettable experience.
Explore Itsukushima Shrine
The Itsukushima Shrine, also known as the Itsukushima-jinja, is a fascinating and historic site located on the island of Miyajima, Japan. This UNESCO World Heritage site has a rich history that dates back to the 6th century when it was built. The shrine is dedicated to the three daughters of the Shinto god of seas and storms and is a prime example of Japanese Shinto architecture.
Visitors to the Itsukushima Shrine will be immediately struck by the distinctive bright orange-red color of the shrine’s buildings and the intricate wooden design. The architecture is simply stunning, with intricate carvings, sculptures, and paintings that are sure to leave a lasting impression.
The Iconic Floating Torii Gate
One of the most iconic and recognizable features of the Itsukushima Shrine is the floating torii gate. This gate is the entrance to the shrine and appears to float on water during high tide, creating a truly breathtaking sight. Visitors can watch the sunset behind the torii gate, which is a magical experience that will leave a lasting impression.
The Main Shrine Buildings
As you wander around the Itsukushima Shrine, you will see the main shrine buildings that make up the complex. The main hall is the most important shrine building and the location of the original shrine. This building is adorned with intricate carvings and sculptures that are a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the builders.
Another important building in the complex is the prayer hall, which is used for worship and prayer. This hall is also adorned with beautiful carvings and sculptures that are sure to impress visitors.
The Five-Storied Pagoda
The Five-Storied Pagoda is another must-see attraction at the Itsukushima Shrine. This impressive structure stands at 27 meters high and offers an incredible panoramic view of the surrounding area. Visitors can climb to the top of the pagoda and take in the stunning views of Miyajima and the surrounding sea.
Overall, the Itsukushima Shrine is a fascinating and historic site that is sure to impress visitors. With its stunning architecture, iconic torii gate, and impressive pagoda, this shrine is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Miyajima.
Discover the Island’s Natural Beauty
Miyajima Island is not only home to amazing architecture and cultural attractions but also offers outstanding natural beauty. Being surrounded by the sea and mountainous terrain offers a plethora of activities and picturesque views.
Hike Mount Misen
For the more adventurous travelers, hiking up Mount Misen is a must-try activity while in Miyajima. This mountain offers some of the best views of the island, and the panoramic views from the summit are breathtaking. The ascent can take up to three hours, but there are several trails to choose from, depending on your skill level, fitness, and time.
As you hike up Mount Misen, you’ll pass through dense forests filled with a variety of trees, including maple, oak, and chestnut. You may even spot some wildlife, such as deer and wild boar, along the way. The mountain’s peak is over 500 meters high, and once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding islands and sea.
Visit Momijidani Park
Momijidani Park is a stunning park located at the base of Mount Misen. This park is famous for its vibrant fall colors that offer a stunning display of nature’s beauty. You can take a leisurely stroll, take in the scenery, and capture some Instagram-worthy snaps.
During the fall season, the park’s maple trees turn into shades of red, orange, and yellow, creating a picturesque landscape that is sure to take your breath away. You can also enjoy a picnic in the park’s open spaces or take a break on one of the benches and soak in the tranquil atmosphere.
Explore the Miyajima Ropeway
If you want to experience an incredible view of the island without breaking a sweat, then the Miyajima Ropeway is a perfect option. This cable car ride takes you over lush forests and offers stunning views of the island and sea. Make sure to have your camera ready to capture some of the most stunning views.
The Miyajima Ropeway has two stations, the lower station, which is located near Momijidani Park, and the upper station, which is located near the summit of Mount Misen. The ride takes about 20 minutes, and you’ll be able to enjoy the stunning views of the island and sea from the comfort of the cable car.
Once you reach the upper station, you can explore the summit of Mount Misen and take in the panoramic views from the observation deck. You can also visit the Misenhondo Hall, a Buddhist temple that is said to have been founded by Kobo Daishi, a famous Japanese monk.
Experience Local Culture and History
In addition to the stunning nature and iconic landmarks, Miyajima also boasts a rich and unique culture that’s worth experiencing. These are some of the top attractions to learn about the local culture and history.
Wander through Omotesando Shopping Street
The Omotesando Shopping Street is a bustling street with many shops, restaurants, and vendors selling Japan’s traditional treats and souvenirs. The street is lined with beautiful traditional buildings, offering a glimpse of Japanese architecture. As you stroll down the street, you’ll notice the colorful banners hanging from the buildings, and the smell of freshly baked goods wafting through the air. You can stop at one of the many food stalls and try some of the local street food, like takoyaki, a ball-shaped snack filled with diced octopus and other ingredients, or oysters grilled on skewers. If you’re looking for souvenirs, you’ll find plenty of options, from Japanese fans and chopsticks to traditional clothing and pottery.
Visit the Miyajima History and Folklore Museum
The Miyajima History and Folklore Museum is a great place to learn about Miyajima’s history, traditions, and customs. The museum offers interactive exhibits, artifacts, and dioramas, immersing you in Miyajima’s rich culture. You can learn about the island’s religious significance and see replicas of the famous Itsukushima Shrine and other historic buildings. The museum also has a section dedicated to the island’s traditional festivals, where you can learn about the elaborate costumes and rituals that take place during these events.
Attend a Traditional Tea Ceremony
Attending a traditional tea ceremony is an excellent way to immerse yourself in Japan’s traditions and customs. Many tea houses in Miyajima offer this experience, where you’ll be served matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweets while sitting on a tatami mat. The ceremony follows a strict protocol and etiquette and is a beautiful way to experience the Japanese culture with all your senses. You’ll learn about the history and significance of tea in Japan and witness the intricate process of preparing and serving the tea. The tea house may also have a garden or a view of the sea, adding to the serene atmosphere of the ceremony.
Overall, Miyajima offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japan’s history and traditions.
Encounter Miyajima’s Wildlife
Miyajima is not only known for its stunning architecture and unique culture, but it is also home to some of the friendliest wild animals in the world. From the moment you step off the ferry, you’ll be greeted by the island’s most famous residents, the deer.
Meet the Friendly Deer
The deer that roam the island are a sight to behold. They are known for their friendly and gentle nature, and they are used to being around humans. These deer are so comfortable around people that they will even bow down when asking for food. Visitors can purchase deer crackers from local vendors and feed the deer by hand. It’s an experience that you won’t want to miss.
Aside from being friendly, these deer are also quite photogenic. You can take some selfies with them and capture some unforgettable memories. Just be sure to treat them with respect and not to disturb them in their natural habitat.
Spot Various Bird Species
If you’re an avid bird watcher, Miyajima is a perfect spot to spot different bird species. The island is home to a wide variety of birds, including pied kingfishers, Japanese tits, and common kingfishers. Early morning walks through the parks and trails offer the best chance to spot birds in their natural habitats.
Aside from these birds, Miyajima is also home to the Japanese white-eye, a small bird that is known for its distinctive call. You can hear the call of the Japanese white-eye throughout the island, and you may even spot one or two during your visit.
Overall, Miyajima Island is a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. From the friendly deer to the diverse bird population, there is something for everyone. So, make sure to pack your camera and binoculars and get ready to experience the beauty of Miyajima’s wildlife.
In conclusion, Miyajima Island is an incredible destination that offers a unique blend of culture, history, and nature. Whether you’re exploring the island’s temples and shrines or encountering its friendly wildlife, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience. So, why wait? Book your trip to Miyajima Island today and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!