Miyajima’s World Heritage – Itsukushima Shrine And Mt. Misen

A lot of people know that Itsukushima Shrine, the shrine that has a torii gate standing in the middle of the sea, is a World Heritage Site. But do you know it isn’t just the shrine itself that was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

And when you ask where to find deer in Japan, most people will tell you to go to Nara. But what about Miyajima? There are also deer walking freely around this sacred island, and the deer can be a lot more friendly and cheeky than those in Nara (≧▽≦).

Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

Miyajima (宮島), formally known as Itsukushima (厳島), is a sacred island known for its forests, ancient shrines, and temples. The huge, bright orange Great Torii Gate that dips its legs in the ocean at high tide is what most people associate Miyajima with.

As the beautiful island is separated from Japan’s main island, catching a ferry from Hiroshima is practically the only way that you can access the island unless you can kayak all the way across the sea (´▽`*).

List of Attractions on Miyajima

How to Get to Miyajima

Ferry to Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

Before you get too excited, we want to break it to you that the pier for ferries heading to Miyajima is nowhere close to Hiroshima unfortunately (;´・ω・).

From JR Hiroshima Station (広島駅), you need to take the JR San’yō Honsen Line (山陽本線) towards JR Miyajimaguchi Station (宮島口駅). It is a 30 minute train ride but notes that it can be packed (which was the case for us).

Tips: If the train is packed, it might be hard to board or get off the train with suitcases. Utilise the coin lockers that can be rented for more than 24 hours or the luggage storage service providers. If you don’t know where to find one, check out ecbocloak!.
If you plan to stay in Hiroshima for a night or two after you visited Miyajima, most hotels will be happy for you to store your luggage with them (some are even happy for you to store your luggage there when you go on a few days’ adventure before you come back to pick up your belongings after you check-out). It won’t hurt to at least ask!

At Miyajimaguchi Pier

Two companies provide ferry services to Miyajima – JR West Japan Miyajima Ferry (JR西日本宮島フェリー) and Miyajima Matsudai Kisen (宮島松大汽船).

Both companies’ ferries will carry you to Miyajima in 10 minutes and cost the same. But depending on your situation and whether you would like some discounts, you will be choosing one over another.

  • 180 yen for a one-way trip
  • 360 yen for a return trip
  • Primary school students’ ferry fare is half of the adult’s fare
JR Miyajima Ferry
Photo from photo-ac.com

The pros and cons for each company are listed below!

JR West Japan Miyajima Ferry

Pros:

  • No extra cost is incurred if you hold a valid JR pass covering the Hiroshima area
  • Provides better photo opportunities with most of their services. We say “most” because not all of them go through the same route. Please refer to their website HERE for more details that include the link to the ferry timetable. The services that are highlighted in blue are the ones that you want to take
  • Longer operating hours from 5:45 am to 10:42 pm

Cons

  • No discounts/freebies

Miyajima Matsudai Kisen

Pros:

  • Special tickets at 500 yen including a return ferry ticket and one of the below to choose from that give you at least 40 yen saving per ticket
    • Momiji manjū (もみじ饅頭) from Momijidō (紅葉堂). Momiji manjū is a type of dessert that has different filling for you to choose from. Please refer to their website HERE for some photos of the dessert
    • Momiji Croissant (もみじクロワッサン) from Torii-ya (鳥居屋). Again, it is a kind of dessert. Please refer HERE for some ideas of what it looks like
    • 200 yen cash voucher to spend at Yamada-ya (やまだ屋)
  • Miyajima Ferry + Ropeway Combo Ticket
    • The 1,800 yen combo ticket includes a return ferry ticket and a return ropeway ticket which will save you 400 yen
    • The 1,000 yen combo ticket includes a return ferry ticket and a one-way ropeway ticket which will save you 370 yen
  • The 1-Day Streetcar and Ferry Pass (950 yen for adults and 450 yen for children). As Miyajima Matsudai Kisen is part of the Hiroshima Electric Railway Company (Hiroden), this pass gives you unlimited train rides on the company’s rail line and Miyajima
  • Matsudai Kisen’s ferries
    • At least 140 yen saving if you are coming from Hiroshima Station
    • By showing your pass to the staff at Miyajima Ropeway to get a discounted fare
    • For more details, please refer to the company’s website HERE. Note that the discounted fare for ropeway is only shown on their Japanese website HERE

Cons:

  • The ferries won’t bring you as close to the Great Torii gate as the JR ferries would
  • About the 1-Day Streetcar and Ferry Pass
    • Not suitable for those who are staying overnight at Miyajima
    • The ropeway may not be in operation during bad weather
    • It takes around 70 minutes to travel from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station by Hiroden

Tips: If you are driving or biking, you can drive your car onto the ferries that are operated by both companies (ferry fare depends on the size of your vehicle of course).

Important: The pier for the two companies is just next to each other. Please read the signboard carefully before you rush onto one or another.

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

Arriving Miyajima

Miyajima Pier Hiroshima Japan

As soon as you get off the ferry, there should be sightseeing pamphlets in many languages if you want to grab a few.

Also, the high/low tide time of the day and the service status of Miyajima Ropeway can also be found around the pier (and probably on the ferry as well).

Heading to Your Accommodation First

If you are like us, going to stay overnight on the island (which we recommend), the last thing you want to do is dragging suitcases everywhere.

So first thing first, drop off your belongings at the accommodation you booked to stay and be as light as possible while you sightsee (=゚ω゚)ノ.

We chose Mikuniya (三国屋) which is more like a guesthouse because of all the good reviews and it is relatively cheap (12,000 yen for a really spacious room for two people)!

Mikunioya Guesthouse Miyajima Japan
Check out our experience at Mikuniya by clicking the photo!

It’s a little far at 10 – 15 minutes away from the pier, but we fully enjoyed our stay (and while playing with the owner’ cat (´▽`*)).

Tips: If you are planning to spend a night in Miyajima, book your accommodation early especially during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage period!

About the Deer in Miyajima

Deer In Miyajima Japan

By the time you reach your accommodation, you would have realised the island is home to a big population of the “divine messenger” – deer.

What you might also notice is there is no one selling deer crackers, which is a bit sad when you have nothing appropriate to feed them when they come up to you…

Please note, unlike Nara, on Miyajima, giving deer food is prohibited to ensure they stay healthy. This includes all paper products such as maps and sightseeing pamphlets that the deer will come to grab from you.

The hardest thing on Miyajima is probably remembering to make sure there are no deer around you before you take the maps out of your bag (≧▽≦).

There was a cheeky one that actually dug his head into one of our bags and started eating while we were resting and chatting on a bench…(´▽`*).

Deer In Miyajima Japan

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

Miyajima Omotesandō Shōtengai/Kiyomori-Dōri (宮島表参道商店街/清盛通り)

Miyajima Omotesandō Shōtengai/Kiyomori-Dōri Miyajima Japan
Photo from Hiroshima Tourism Association

The busiest area on the island is, of course, the shopping street – Kiyomori-Dōri. Shops selling Miyajima’s specialties and traditional crafts are lined up one after another, making it the perfect spot to empty out your wallet (´▽`*).

This is also one of the places in Japan that are the least vegetarian-friendly because the island is famous for its oysters and conger eel…

And remember, if you got one of those special tickets from Miyajima Matsudai Kisen that comes with a Momiji Manjū or Momiji Croissant with your ferry tickets, both Momijidō and Torii-ya are one of the shops on this street. So don’t forget to exchange your delicious desserts while you shop for souvenirs! If you got one of the cash voucher to spend at Yamada-ya (やまだ屋), the shop is on this street as well.

Tips: If you are looking for vegan/vegetarian menu, TACHIBANA (お食事処 たち花) seems like a good place to visit as people mentioned they have an English vegan/vegetarian menu. As the restaurant serves Japanese cuisine, we have a little doubt that whether the broth for noodle soups and curry is really free of any animal products. So if you are strict with your diet, utilise the phrases in our Essential Travel Phrases For Vegetarian article (^_-)-☆.
Another option, whilst more expensive, is the shōjin ryōri (精進料理) at Daishōin Temple. This will guarantee the entire meal is meat/fish-free!

Ō-Shakushi/Big Rice Scoop (おお杓子)

One of the other things that Miyajima is known for is its woodworking. Because of the excellent woodworkers, various magnificent wooden structures on the island such as Itsukushima Shrine were able to be built and maintained till today.

The most jaw-dropping thing to see on the island is, however, this gigantic rice scoop on display in the middle of the shopping district Σ(゚Д゚).

Ō-Shakushi At Miyajima Omotesandō Shōtengai/Kiyomori-Dōri Miyajima Japan

As the originator of the rice scoop, this scoop was made to promote the island’s woodworking. Though we doubt anyone has used this the 7.7 meters long, 2.7 meters wide rice scoop that weights 2.5 tonnes (´▽`*).

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.


Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社)

Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan

Registered as a World Heritage in 1996, the shrine was originally built in 593 and was expanded in 1168 by Taira no Kiyomori (平清盛), the general of the country at the time.

Kiyomori believed that he was able to defeat the pirates who were terrorising locals due to the blessing from the god of Itsukushima Shrine. This was why he kept donating money to the shrine. The shrine thus grew from a small main hall to a pavilion that later on attracted people with high social status (from nobles, shogunate, all the way to the emperors) to the shrine.

The impression of the scenery of the Itsukushima Shrine changes completely with the ebb and flow of the tide. Especially with the nighttime light-up, a fantastic atmosphere surrounds the shrine when it floats on the sea at high tide.

Night Time Light Up Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

Sunset from Itsukushima Shrine

Sunset From Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

While you are busy exploring this god’s island, don’t forget to keep an eye on where the sun is.

Before sunset, you want to be at Itsukushima Shrine because it is literally the best spot on the island to admire this stunning scenery!

Getting up Close to the Great Torii Gate

At low tide, you can walk straight up to the 16 meters tall torii gate to worship it. If you look close enough, you might find some coins in the cracks of its wooden pillar (*’▽’).

And no, those are not prices for those who waited patiently for the tide to ebb. The money belongs to the god of the shrine that was offered by previous worshipers.

As the tide comes and goes twice a day about every 6 hours if you don’t stay in Miyajima, it might be difficult to see the scenery of both high tide and low tide during both daytime and nighttime, which is another reason why staying on the island is a great idea!

Whether you choose to spend a night in Miyajima or not, it is always smart to check the tide table published on Miyajima Tourist Association’s website to plan ahead.

Great Torii Gate Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan

As the table is only published on the Japanese website at the moment, here is a brief guide on how to use it:

  1. Select the year, month, and date that you are visiting Miyajima with the drop-down boxes
  2. Click the 潮汐表示 button to show the tidal information for the day
  3. The first column of the table shows the hours and the second column is the corresponding tide level
  4. The high and low tide table is below the photos

If you are still having issues getting the tidal information, you can contact us HERE and we will get back to you.

Important: Currently, the symbol of the shrine – Great Torii Gate (built in 1875) is under large-scale preservation and repair work that started in June 2019. It is unknown when the work will be finished, hopefully soon…

Sea Kayaking at Miyajima

During the day, instead of waiting for low tide, you can also kayak to the Great Torii Gate! The whole guided course only takes around an hour which shouldn’t be too tiring. But of course, it does take a small amount of stamina.

For more information, please refer to their website HERE. You can also making a booking with Viator HERE.

Miyajima Light-Up Cruise

Another way to get a close-up photo with the lit-up Great Torii Gate is by joining the Miyajima Light-Up Cruise operated by Aqua Net Hiroshima Co. Ltd. This option is especially attractive if the low tide is happening at an inconvenient hour. Whilst it isn’t cheap (1,600 yen) to get on one of the cruises and you need to reserve at least 2 hours in advance before departure, with all the money and effort spent to come this far to Miyajima, you really don’t want to go home without a nighttime selfie with this magnificent architecture!

For more details, please refer to their website HERE.

The Noh Stage

Noh Stage Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

Another thing that is worthwhile to mention is the Noh Stage. It is Japan’s only floating Noh Stage!

The stage is still in use as part of some of the rituals performed throughout the year (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Opening Hours and Admission Fee of Itsukushima Shrine

  • From Jan to Feb and from the 15th of Oct to the end of Nov: Itsukushima Shrine is opened from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm
  • From Mar to the 14th of Oct: the shrine is opened from 6:30 am to 6 pm
  • In Dec, the shrine is opened from 6:30 am to 5 pm
  • The admission fees are
    • 300 yen for adults
    • 200 yen for high school students
    • 100 yen for middle and primary school students

Tips: Because even during the weekdays, it is likely the shrine will be packed with tourists (especially during the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons), we recommend you to visit the shrine as early as possible. Otherwise, you will be like us who were struggling to find a good spot in the shrine without strangers in the background…

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall (寶物館)

Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall Miyajima Japan

If you are interested in samurais and/or craft arts or a history buff, don’t miss out on the Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall that is just at the back of the Itsukushima Shrine.

Starting from swords and armor helmets, to costumes and masks of Noh and dance, the treasure hall is home to more than 4,500 valuable items (although not all will be on display)!

These items aren’t just something that you can find in antique shops, amongst the 4,500 items, about 130 of them have been designated as national treasures and important cultural properties. So we reckon it is definitely worthwhile to spend a good 30 minutes or even longer at this museum that was opened in 1934 (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Opening Hours and Admission Fee of Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall

  • Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall is opened from 8 am to 5 pm
  • The admission fees are
    • 300 yen for adults
    • 200 yen for high school students
    • 100 yen for middle and primary school students

Tips: Get a 100 yen discount with the Itsukushima Shrine + Treasure Hall combo ticket! Note this ticket is only sold at the entrance of the shrine.

Daishōin Temple (大聖院)

Daishōin Temple Map Miyajima Japan

Around a 7 minutes’ walk away from Momijidani Park, the main temple of the Misenhondo (弥山本堂) and the Reikadō Hall (霊火堂) up in Mt. Misen is located at the top of the set of long staircases.

It is also the attraction of Miyajima that has the longest history. Built in 806 by the Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師), the temple is so famous that for Hiroshima residents, they come to Miyajima for Daishōin Temple instead of the Itsukushima Shrine!

Next to the main gate of the temple, the map of the ground of the temple was drawn so beautifully that we had to take a photo of it (together with the autumn foliage in the background (´▽`*)).

Passing this gate will start a walk up long staircases which might discourage some people. But, we promise you won’t regret making the effort to make it to the top because this is no ordinary temple (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Daishōin Temple Gate Miyajima Japan
Daishōin Temple Stairs Miyajima Japan

There are quite a few smaller halls scattered along the long stone staircases. Many historical great leaders in Japan as well as imperial family members and the 14th Dalai Lama have also climbed through the staircases that you are standing on.

With that in mind as you walk, it might add to the peaceful and solemn atmosphere here and make the climbing less tiring.

Henjyōkutsu (遍照窟)

At the back of the ground of Daishōin Temple, you will find the Main Hall. Underneath the main hall, is this fantasy space – Henjyōkutsu.

If you are thinking to do the 88 temple pilgrimage in Shikoku (四国) for the blessings that you will receive, then definitely do your pilgrimage here. Because it is said you will earn the same blessing as the original statue of the Buddha in all 88 temples are all located here!

Also, another fun thing to do at Daishōin Temple is discovering the different facial expressions of the many Jizo statues (*^▽^*).

Daishōin Temple Henjyokutsu Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

Shōjin Ryōri (精進料理) at Daishōin Temple

Whether you are vegan/vegetarian trying to escape from the oyster-related cuisine or not, experiencing a bit of the Japanese culture by having shōjin ryōri at Daishōin Temple is always a great idea! The Kaiseki version of shōjin ryōri is not only going to be a luxurious meal but also healthy (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Reservations are required at least 3 days in advance and accepted if you have 4 or more people in your group. The temple can serve shōjin ryōri on most of the days from 11 am to 2 pm except the 31st of December to the 3rd of January, the 3rd of February, the 8th of March, the 14th of April and November, and the 10th of August.

Tips: It won’t hurt to check with them to see if they have received a booking from others already on the day you intend to visit the temple. They might be able to cater to you if that is the case (^_-)-☆.

To book, you can give them a call at +81-829-44-0111 or, fill in the online form on their website HERE (you can translate the website by changing the language on the top. Furigana means how your name is written in Japanese Hiragana, which you should be able to get from Google translate).

Events and Festivals at Daishōin Temple

There are many rituals and events taking place at the temple throughout the year. Below are the main ones for you to consider!

  • The 15th of April from 11 am: Spring Festival and Firewalking Shinto Ritual (春季大祭・紫灯護摩 火渡り神事)
  • The 8th to the 9th of September: Daishōin Special Nighttime Opening (大聖院特別夜景拝観)
  • The 10th to the 12th of September: Miyajima Candle Festival (宮島ローソクまつり 萬燈会)
  • The 3rd of November to the 10th and the 17th to the 23rd of November: Autumn Foliage Light-Up (もみじライトアップ)
  • The 15th of November: Autumn Festival and Firewalking Shinto Ritual (秋季大祭・紫灯護摩・火渡り神事)

How to Get to Daishōin Temple

From Miyajima Pier, it is around a 30 mins’ walk.

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

Momijidani Park (紅葉谷公園)

Utilising the Momijihodō Nature Walk (refer to map HERE) close to Daishōin Temple’s main gate, you will soon arrive at the Momijidani Park. At the outskirts of the park close to the shopping street, there’s Momijindani River.

This spot of Miyajima is where you can find most deer and, in spring, it is one of the best spots for cherry blossom! So adding cute deer and gorgeous pink flowers together, you get the best possible photo of Japan’s spring (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Momijidani River Miyajima Japan
Momijidani Park Miyajima Japan

From the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), the seedlings of maple trees were planted where today’s Momijidani Park is.

Every year from mid to late November, tourists flock to Miyajima to adorn the beauty of the fiery autumn-leaf covered park! No matter where you are and what angle, we assure you that there will be no photo that you want to delete later on (=゚ω゚)ノ.

And just like during the cherry blossom season, your relaxing stroll over the stunning park is most likely to be accompanied by deer that might come up to you thinking of treats!

Not only spring and autumn, the greenery in summer and the snow scenery in the park are also the reason why Miyajima remains one of the most popular destinations in the Chūgoku Area of Japan’s island.

Mt. Misen (弥山) and the Miyajima Ropeway/Gondola (宮島ロープウエー)

If you land on Miyajima on a good sunny day without too much wind, it doesn’t matter as much when you head to board the ropeway as long as you allow enough time at the top of Mt. Misen.

But, if the weather of the day isn’t as stable according to the forecast, you really want to access the ropeway when you still can!

When we first got off the ferry, we were told that the ropeway isn’t in service because it was too windy. It didn’t bother us as much as we had until the next day afternoon before we were leaving the island.

Tips: Even if the ropeway wasn’t in service at the time you get off the ferry, it doesn’t mean it will remain out of service for the rest of the day. We were lucky that by the time it went back in service, we were just around the ropeway station. Saved us a lot of time from being stuck in the queue! So if you notice the weather is getting better, keep an eye on the ropeway. You may be able to board it the next minute (^_-)-☆.

How to Get to Momijidani Station (紅葉谷駅)

To get to the ropeway station – Momijidani, you can simply trek uphill from Itsukujima Shrine for around 15 minutes.

Especially in spring and autumn, where the surroundings are decorated with cherry blossom or autumn foliage, we would suggest you go with this option.

Another way to get to the station is by utilising the free shuttle bus departing from Hotel Iwaso (ホテル岩惣). Usually, there are 3 services per hour but note the number of services reduced in the early morning and during lunchtime. To check the shuttle bus’s timetable, please refer to Miyajima Ropeway’s website HERE.

Tips: For anyone who has special dietary requirements, consider staying at Hotel Iwaso as they do cater to your requirements if you let them know in advance!

Gondola Lift To Shishiiwa Station (獅子岩駅)

Miyajima-Ropeway-Hiroshima-Japan

After you board the gondola lift from Momijidani Station, you will need to transfer to another type of gondola lift at Kayatani Station (榧谷駅) before you reach Shishiiwa Station that is close to the summit of Mt. Misen.

Whilst it is kind of troublesome, you get to experience two different types of lift, so that might be a plus to some people (^_-)-☆.

Compared to the 10 minute ride from Momijidani Station to Kayatani Station, the 15 minutes ride between Kayatani Station gives you a panorama view of the beautiful nature of Mt. Misen and the small islands floating in the Seto Inland Sea (瀬戸内海)!

How Much Does It Cost to Board the Ropeway and Its Operating Hours

  • A one-way trip costs 1,010 yen and a round trip costs 1,840 yen
  • Children between the age of 6 to 12 years old get a 50% discount on the adult fare
  • The current operating hours are 9 am to 4 pm with the last gondola lift departing Shishiiwa Station at 4:30 pm

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

What to Do Around Shishiiwa Station

First thing first, if there aren’t many people around the viewing deck, take as many selfies with the spectacular view of the Seto Inland Sea as you can.

When we went in autumn, it was just impossible to get a photo with the Shishiiwa landmark without strangers serving as extras in the photo (;´・ω・).

Miyajima Ropeway Shishiiwa Station Miyajima Japan

From Shishiiwa Station, hike a further 1 km up, you will find the Misen Observatory at the top of Mt. Misen. The trail should take you around 30 minutes one-way but has quite a few slopes, so it may be a bit tough for those who usually lack exercise (´▽`*).

Tips: You will probably spend around 3 hours at Mt. Misen including the time you spend on the ropeway. If you would like to hike to the summit, please go with a pair of shoes that fit your feet nicely so you won’t end up with a painful blister afterward!

Momiji Manjū Making At Shishiiwa Station

From 10 am to 12 pm and from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm, inside the station, you can make your own Japanese sweets – Momiji Manjū! It will only cost you 20 minutes maximum, and if you come with a partner, you get a 50 yen discount each!

To participate in this activity, please let the staff on the second floor of the station know.

For some photos of the activity, please refer to their Japanese website HERE (as it is not mentioned on the website in English).

Important: Please note because there will be worries of accidental burnt, kids under the age of 10 won’t be able to join.

Mt. Misen Primeval Forest

As mentioned earlier, back in 1996, what was registered as a World Heritage on the island isn’t just Itsukushima Shrine. The registration actually includes this forest that covers the north side of Mt. Misen. On the way to the summit, you can snap another selfie with the Mt. Misen Primeval Forest Monumem that represents the second area of this gorgeous island that is recognised by the world!

Seven Wonders of Mt. Misen

In ancient times, the entire island of Miyajima was the object of worship as “God’s Island”. On this island, it is not surprised some wonders waiting for you to discover on the way up to the summit of Mt. Misen!

  1. Kiezu-no-hi – きえずの火 (The eternal flame)
  2. Shakujo-no-ume – 錫杖の梅 (Plum tree of Tin Stick)
  3. Mandara-iwa – 曼荼羅岩
  4. Kanman-iwa – 干満岩 (Ebb-and-flow rock)
  5. Hyoshigi-no oto – 拍子木の音 (Sound of wooden clappers)
  6. Shigure-zakura – しぐれ桜 – (showered cherry blossom)
  7. Ryuoto No Sugi – 龍燈の杉 (Sea-fire Japan Cedar) 

For some reason, the English version of the Seven Wonders on the Ropeway’s website was written in French, but you can check out the photo of each wonder on their Japanese webpage HERE. For translation of what is written there, please refer to Wikipedia.

Reikadō Hall (霊火堂)

Reikado Hall Miyajima Japan

This small pavilion is where you will find the first wonder – Kiezu-no-hi (きえずの火). Referring to the Mt. Misen Summit map HERE, it is also at the junction that connects you to the top of Mt. Misen or other hiking courses in the mountain.

This is what the interior of the pavilion looks like. Whilst it probably doesn’t look like it is smoky, it was!

We were so jealous of those people whose eyes aren’t affected by the smoke who were able to get the holy water…

Although we didn’t get to experience this part of Mt. Misen that we were really looking forward to, it was still great to at least be able to get there (*´ω`).

From here to the summit of Mt. Misen, it is only another 10 minutes hike. You will be passing through some of the seven wonders as well (^_-)-☆.

Reikado Hall Miyajima Japan

Hiking at Mt. Misen

For those who would like to hike all the way up or all the way down, you can refer to the hiking map HERE. And please take note of the “caution” section underneath for your own safety.

Sunrise From Mt. Misen

Sunrise from Mt. Misen Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

Instead of celebrating the New Year with fireworks at midnight, watching the first sunrise of the year may be a better idea, especially from the summit of Mt. Misen!

Only on the first day of the year, Miyajima Ropeway starts operating from 5 am in the morning, giving you more than enough time to catch the sunrise at around 7 am (*´ω`).

No reservation is required. All you need to do is stay overnight at Miyajima and get up early enough to reach the summit before the sun appears from the horizon.

Tips: Remember to bring enough warm cloth, flashlights (if the one attached to your phone isn’t bright enough), your phone/camera, and water!

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

Toyokuni Shrine Five-Story Pagoda (五重塔)

If you catch the free shuttle bus on the way back from Miyajima Ropeway, it is only a 4 minute walk to Toyokuni Shrine from where you get off the bus!

Built in 1407, it is designated as a national important cultural property and unfortunately can only be admired from outside at the moment. But it is still a great spot for some awesome photos and even the level of detail of the painting and carving on the exterior of the pagoda is amazing enough (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Toyokuni SShrine Five-Story Pagoda Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

How to Get to Toyukuni Shrine Five-Story Pagoda

  • It is just a 2 mins walk from the Itsukushima Shrine or a 4 mins walk from the free shuttle bus stop outside of Hotel Iwaso (ホテル岩惣) and at the entrance of the Momijidani Park (紅葉谷公園)
  • No admission fee is required

Senjokaku Pavilion (豊国神社(千畳閣))

Your visit to the Itsukushima Shrine won’t be complete without climbing out a set of staircases to the Senjokaku Pavilion located at the high ground close to the Itsukushima Shrine!

Also known as the Toyotomi Shrine, the pavilion was built by the order from Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣 秀吉) in 1587. It is the biggest pavilion on Miyajima island. Because the floor of the pavilion is covered by 857 tatami mats, the pavilion (kaku in Japanese) was called “senjo” which means a thousand tatami mats in Japanese.

Senjokaku Pavilion Miyajima Japan
Photo from photo-ac.com

You will notice part of the ceiling and the wall of the pavilion aren’t completed yet. This is because the pavilion was left unfinished after Toyotomi Hideyoshi passed away.

The big buddha statue in the pavilion was removed in the Meiji period (1868 – 1912) and now it is where Toyotomi Hideyoshi and Katō Kiyomasa (加藤 清正) are enshrined.

As an important cultural property of Japan, this wooden pavilion is where you can feel the culture of the Momoyama period and Hideyoshi’s power (and one of the spots with a great view of the island)!

Opening Hours And Admission Fee Of Senjokaku Pavilion

  • Senjokaku Pavilion is opened from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
  • The admission fees are
    • 100 yen for adults
    • 50 yen for middle and primary school students

Please HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Miyajima.

Cafe Tenshinkaku (天心閣)

Walking on your feet for a couple of hours can be quite tiring. If you need some rest, we recommend this cafe that is on one of the small hills at the back of the Miyajima Omotesandō Shōtengai.

The cafe is operated by the Miyajima originated brand – Itsuki Coffee (伊都岐). The brand is well-known for its coffee roasting techniques. Including Tenshikaku, it has five cafes just on Miyajima.

Apart from the coffee and cakes, the best thing about the cafe is its magnificent view of the pagoda and the Senjokaku Pavilion with the Seto Inland Sea as a backdrop!

Although the coffee itself isn’t cheap (starting at 550 yen), it is totally a more than reasonable price if you get to spend a relaxing afternoon with this great view in front of you (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Tenshikaku’s Business Hours and Access Method

  • The cafe is only opened from 2 to 5 pm from Friday to Tuesday
  • The cafe is just a 10 mins walk from Miyajima Pier!

The Best Time to Visit Miyajima

Apart from when there are events held at Daishōin Temple, below is a list of other times of the year that you will get some extra fun when you visit Miyajima.

  • Late Mar – early Apr: cherry blossom season
  • End of Mar (canceled for 2021): Kiyomori Festival (宮島清盛まつり)
  • The 15th of Apr: Tōkasai (桃花祭) – Peach Blossom Festival
  • August (dates for 2021 hasn’t been announced yet): Miyajima Water Fireworks Festival (宮島水中花火大会)
  • The 15th of Oct: Kikkasai (菊花祭) – Chrysanthemum Blossom Festival

For more details of the festival, please refer to this website HERE.

To know where to admire the cherry blossom and autumn foliage, please refer to the map HERE. Cherry blossom trees are marked with pink flowers and autumn foliage is labeled by orange maple leaves.

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