Miyajima isn’t just about the Floating Torii Gate. Head to the most sacred part of Miyajima, Mt. Misen (弥山), for the magnificent scenery up at the summit and to explore Mt. Misen’s Seven Wonders!
The easiest way to get to the top of the sacred mountain is by taking the Miyajima Ropeway (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 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 will want to access the ropeway when you still can! Because when we first got off the ferry, we were told that the ropeway isn’t in service because it was too windy.
While it didn’t bother us as much since we had until the next afternoon before leaving the island, it could have been a disappointment if the bad weather had lasted until the end of our visit.
Tip: Even if the ropeway isn’t in service when you get off the ferry, it doesn’t mean it will remain out of service for the rest of the day. We were lucky to be just around the ropeway station when it returned to service. It 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 (^_-)-☆.
A List of Contents
- How to Get to Momijidani Station (紅葉谷駅)
- Gondola Lift to Shishiiwa Station (獅子岩駅)
- How Much Does It Cost to Board the Miyajima Ropeway and the Operating Hours
- What to Do Around Shishiiwa Station
- The Seven Wonders of Mt. Misen
- Hiking at Mt. Misen
- Sunrise from Mt. Misen
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, when the surroundings are decorated with cherry blossoms or fall foliage, we would suggest you go with this option.
Another way to get to the station is by utilizing 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 is reduced in the early morning and during lunchtime. Please refer to Miyajima Ropeway’s website HERE to check the shuttle bus’s timetable.
Tip: For anyone with special dietary requirements, consider staying at Hotel Iwaso as they cater to your requirements if you let them know in advance!
Gondola Lift to Shishiiwa Station (獅子岩駅)
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, which is close to the summit of Mt. Misen.
While it is troublesome, you get to experience two different types of lift, which might be a plus to some people (^_-)-☆.
Compared to the 10-minute ride from Momijidani Station to Kayatani Station, the 15-minute 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 Miyajima Ropeway and the Operating Hours
- A one-way trip costs
- 1,100 yen for adults
- 550 yen for elementary school students
- A return trip costs
- 2,000 yen for adults
- 1,000 yen for elementary school students
- One adult can accompany one child for free for younger children from one to six years old (pre-school). The second child will need to pay the children’s fare.
- The current operating hours are 9 am to 4 pm.
- The last gondola lift departing Shishiiwa Station is at 4:30 pm.
Tip: You can also make a reservation online HERE to board Miyajima Ropeway.
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･).
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 around 30 minutes one-way but has quite a few slopes, so it may be a bit tough for those who usually lack exercise (´▽｀*).
Tip: 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 wear a pair of shoes that fit your feet nicely so you won’t end up with a painful blister afterwards!
Visiting Mt. Misen with Your Partner?
Mt. Misen is also recognized as one of Japan’s 100 Lover’s Sanctuary. At Shishiiwa Station, you can get some lover’s merchandise from the shop. You can also light up the Fire of Oath together at Shishiiwa Station.
Please refer to the official website HERE for the meaning and how to light up the Fire of Oath (please scroll down).
Momiji Manjū Making at Shishiiwa Station
Important: This activity is currently unavailable.
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 station’s second floor 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
Back in 1996, what was registered as a World Heritage on the island isn’t just Itsukushima Shrine. The registration includes this forest covering the north side of Mt. Misen. On the way to the summit, you can snap another selfie with the Mt. Misen Primeval Forest Monument, which represents the second area of this gorgeous island that is recognized by the world!
The 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, some wonders are waiting for you to discover on the way up to the summit of Mt. Misen!
- Kiezu-no-hi – きえずの火 (The eternal flame)
- Shakujo-no-ume – 錫杖の梅 (Plum tree of Tin Stick)
- Mandara-iwa – 曼荼羅岩
- Kanman-iwa – 干満岩 (Ebb-and-flow rock)
- Hyoshigi-no oto – 拍子木の音 (Sound of wooden clappers)
- Shigure-zakura – しぐれ桜 – (showered cherry blossom)
- 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)
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 on the mountain.
This is what the interior of the pavilion looks like. While it probably doesn’t look like it is smoky, it is!
We were so jealous of those whose eyes aren’t affected by the smoke who could 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 is only another 10 minutes hike. You will also pass through some of the seven wonders (^_-)-☆.
Hiking at Mt. Misen
For those who would like to hike all the way up or down, you can refer to the hiking map HERE. There are three hiking courses that you can choose from. Miyajima’s official website HERE has a few photos to refer to.
Tip: The mountain trails on Mt. Misen get dark much faster in the late afternoon. So, if you are only going to hike down Mt. Misen after 3 pm, please take the Daishōin course. This darkens relatively later compared to the other two courses.
Sunrise from Mt. Misen
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.
Tip: Remember to bring enough warm cloth, flashlights (if the one attached to your phone isn’t bright enough), your phone/camera, and water!
Recommended Hotels and Ryokans on Miyajima
Discover Other Fascinating Attractions on Miyajima
Itsukushima Shrine isn’t the only awesome attraction on Miyajima. The sacred island has many other great places awaiting your visit!
For more information about where to go after you land on Miyajima, including budget accommodation, please refer to our article on Miyajima!