Trip To Japan

Day Trip to Miyajima Island: Itsukushima Shrine and Mount Misen Hike

Solberg Audunsson
May 22, 2024
Miyajima Island

A visit to Miyajima Island, renowned for its iconic Itsukushima Shrine and the breathtaking Mount Misen hike, is an unforgettable experience for any traveler. This destination, often called "shrine island," offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural significance.

Situated just a short trip from Hiroshima, Miyajima Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that promises a day filled with exploration, history, and stunning landscapes. Whether captivated by ancient temples, the famous floating torii gate, or scenic hiking trails, Miyajima has something to offer everyone.

Getting to Miyajima from Hiroshima

Traveling from Hiroshima to Miyajima is straightforward and convenient. Begin your journey at Hiroshima Station, where you can take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station.

The Japan Rail Pass covers the trip, making it an economical option for travelers. From Miyajimaguchi Station, it's just a short walk to the Miyajima ferry terminal.

You can board the JR Ferry or a private ferry to reach Miyajima Pier. The ferry ride across the Seto Inland Sea provides picturesque views and takes only about ten minutes, delivering you to the heart of Miyajima Island.

Featured tour
Chureito Pagoda
Ultimate JR Pass – Travel All of Japan Freely

Discover Japan without limits with our all-access JR Pass!

Book now

Where is Miyajima Island

Miyajima Island, known as Itsukushima, is located within the Seto Inland Sea in the Hiroshima Prefecture. It is approximately 20 kilometers southwest of central Hiroshima.

The island has been a sacred site since ancient times, revered for its stunning natural beauty and spiritual significance. Its most renowned landmark, the Itsukushima Shrine, dates back to the 12th century and is famed for its magnificent torii gate, which gives the illusion of floating on water during high tide.

As a small town with a rich history, Miyajima offers visitors a glimpse into traditional Japanese culture and religious practices.

What to Do in Itsukushima Shrine and Mount Misen

Visit Itsukushima Shrine

Itsukushima Shrine
Itsukushima Shrine

Explore the iconic Itsukushima Shrine, renowned for its distinctive "floating" torii gate. Itsukushima Shrine creates a mesmerizing and iconic sight as it appears to float on water during high tide.

Established in 593 CE and later expanded by Taira no Kiyomori in 1168, the shrine complex includes multiple structures such as a prayer hall, main hall, and a noh theater stage, all connected by boardwalks elevated above the sea. The shrine and its torii gate have earned recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflecting their historical and cultural significance.

Featured tour
Miyajima Island
Exploring the Wonders of Miyajima: A Cultural Highlights Walking Tour

Uncover the mystique of Miyajima Island with this tour.

Book now

Hike Mount Misen

Mount Misen
Mount Misen

Mount Misen offers three main hiking trails, each providing unique experiences and challenges. The Momijidani Course is the shortest but steepest route, stretching 2.5 kilometers and leading primarily through dense forest.

This trail starts from Momijidani Park, known for its stunning maple trees, which are incredibly vibrant in autumn. The Daisho-in Course is favored for its scenic views and moderate difficulty. It begins at the historic. 

Daisho-in Temple and climbs 2.3 kilometers through the Misen Virgin Forest. Finally, the Omoto Course is the longest at 2.9 kilometers, offering varied terrain and several points of interest, including the "sea of boulders" in Omoto Park.

Ride the Miyajima Ropeway

Miyajima Ropeway
Miyajima Ropeway

Embark on the Miyajima Ropeway to reach Shishiiwa Observatory, where you'll be greeted with stunning panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea and the surrounding islands. The ropeway journey is an adventure, taking you over lush forests and providing glimpses of the island's natural beauty.

Once at the observatory near Mount Misen's summit, you'll find an expansive lookout point offering breathtaking vistas of Hiroshima Bay and the dynamic maritime routes near Hiroshima. This spot is perfect for capturing the region's scenic beauty and serves as a starting point for those who wish to hike further up to the summit of Mount Misen.

Explore Daisho-in Temple

Daisho-in Temple Grounds
Daisho-in Temple Grounds

Daisho-in Temple, located at the base of Mount Misen on Miyajima Island, is a significant site of Shingon Buddhism. This temple is renowned for its serene atmosphere, beautifully landscaped grounds, and various religious artifacts.

One of its standout features is the intricate sand mandala created by visiting Tibetan monks. The temple's peaceful surroundings include lush gardens, a cave filled with Buddhist icons, and numerous statues, such as the 500 rakan (disciples of Buddha), each uniquely adorned with knitted hats and scarves by residents.

Featured tour
Itsukushima Shrine
Private Miyajima Rickshaw Tour ( 1 Hour ) Ride

Appreciate the peaceful atmosphere of this temple.

Book now

Stroll through Momijidani Park

Momijidani Park
Momijidani Park

Momijidani Park, situated at the base of Mount Misen on Miyajima Island, is an essential destination, particularly in autumn, when the foliage transforms into a vibrant display of colors. Known as "Maple Valley," the park is home to around 700 maple trees, which create a breathtaking display of vibrant red, orange, and yellow foliage from mid to late November.

The park, a 15-20 minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine, offers a serene escape from the more crowded areas near the ferry terminal, making it an ideal spot for a peaceful stroll amid nature. Visitors can enjoy the tranquil atmosphere, enhanced by the presence of freely roaming deer and the picturesque Momijibashi Bridge, which perfectly complements the autumn colors.​

Enjoy Local Cuisine

Local Cuisine
Local Cuisine

Miyajima Island is a culinary paradise, particularly renowned for its fresh seafood. Oysters, a local specialty, are prepared in various ways, including raw, grilled, and fried. Many visitors rave about garlic butter-grilled oysters, which can be found at small eateries like Kaki Fuku Maru.

These oysters are known for their rich, salty flavor and are a must-try for seafood lovers. Equally famous is the conger eel, often served over rice in a dish called anago-meshi.

This delicacy features tender, flavorful eel that is typically grilled and glazed with sweet soy sauce. It has a long history on the island and can be enjoyed at numerous local restaurants.

Featured tour
Bar Hopping and Food Tour in Hiroshima at Night

Taste local specialties like okonomiyaki and oysters at three popular izakayas.

Book now

Take a Walk in Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Castle

Hiroshima Castle, often called Carp Castle, is a significant historical landmark that provides an insightful look into Japan's feudal era. Located within walking distance from Hiroshima Station, the castle is a replica of the original 16th-century structure that was destroyed during the atomic bombing in 1945.

The grounds feature a beautiful moat, a reconstructed main keep, and several informative exhibits about the castle's history and the samurai who once inhabited it​. A visit to Hiroshima Castle can be easily combined with a day trip to Miyajima Island.

After exploring the castle, head to Hiroshima Station and take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station. Then, take a short ferry ride to Miyajima. It makes for a well-rounded day of historical exploration and natural beauty.

Featured tour
Hiroshima Castle
Hiroshima Insights: Personalized Private Tour with a Local

Travel back in time at Hiroshima Castle.

Book now

Shop for Souvenirs

Shop for Souvenirs
Shop for Souvenirs

A visit to Miyajima Island is complete with exploring the Omotesando Shopping Street, the main thoroughfare for souvenirs and local delicacies. Here, you can find a variety of traditional crafts, such as Miyajima shakushi (wooden rice scoops) and Miyajima-bori (wood carvings), which make for charming and culturally significant keepsakes.

The street is also famous for its momiji manju, a maple leaf-shaped confection filled with sweet bean paste or other flavors, available in numerous shops along the way.

Tips Before Visiting Miyajima Island

  • Plan Your Trip: Start early to maximize your day trip.

  • Check the Tide Schedule: For the best view of the Torii gate, visit during high tide.

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes: Essential for hiking trails and exploring the island.

  • Bring Water and Snacks: Especially if you plan on hiking Mount Misen.

  • Use the Japan Rail Pass: Save money on transportation from Hiroshima to Miyajima.

  • Visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park: Combine your visit with a trip to this historic site.

  • Be Prepared for Crowds: Miyajima is a popular destination, especially during peak seasons.

A Day of Discovery and Tranquility

A day trip to Miyajima Island offers an extraordinary blend of natural wonders and cultural heritage. From the majestic Itsukushima Shrine and its iconic floating torii gate to the exhilarating hike up Mount Misen, every moment on the island is a discovery.

Whether you're marveling at ancient temples, soaking in panoramic views from Shishiiwa Observatory, or simply enjoying the serene beauty of the Seto Inland Sea, Miyajima promises a memorable adventure. With easy access from Hiroshima via public transport, including the JR Sanyo Line and various ferry services, visiting Miyajima is a seamless and enriching experience for travelers seeking tranquility and exploration.

Featured tour
Atomic Bomb Dome
Hiroshima & Miyajima Day Trip From Kyoto

Join us for an unforgettable day trip from Kyoto to the historic sites of Hiroshima.

Book now


Is Hiroshima and Miyajima worth visiting?

Hiroshima and Miyajima are both renowned as essential stops on any travel itinerary in Japan.

Is Miyajima better in the morning or afternoon?

We recommend arriving in Miyajima by mid-morning to experience the Itsukushima Shrine at both high and low tides, allowing you to appreciate the shrine's unique beauty at different times.

How long do you need for Hiroshima and Miyajima?

Two days are ideal for exploring Hiroshima and Miyajima, allowing ample time to experience these destinations' rich history and natural beauty.

How do I get to Miyajima Ropeway?

The ropeway station is a ten-minute walk inland from Itsukushima Shrine or approximately a 20-minute from the Miyajima ferry pier. Miyajima Ropeway provides cable car access to and from Momijidani Station, Kayadani Station, and Shishi-iwa Station.

What is the best day of the week to visit Miyajima?

Weekdays tend to be quieter and more enjoyable.

What is the best way to travel between Hiroshima Station and the Hiroshima Peace Park?

The best way to travel between Hiroshima Station and Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park is by tram, which leaves in front of the South Exit of Hiroshima Station.