The torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima
The Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima

About Miyajima

Miyajima “Shrine-Island” – or by its real name, Itsukushima – is one of the crown jewels of Japan, and certainly one of its finest views.

Just a 10-minute boat ride from Hiroshima, the serene beauty of the island is an essential complement to that city: the island of Miyajima is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations.

  • Itsukushima Shrine
  • Mount Misen, the island’s highest mountain
  • The buddhist Daisho-in Temple
  • The large wooden Sejokaku Hall

Nature & culture

Miyajima has been considered a holy place for most of Japanese history. In 806 AD, the monk Kōbō Daishi ascended Mt. Misen and established the mountain as an ascetic site for the Shingon sect of Buddhism. In the years since, the island’s Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines have maintained a close relationship. In the past, women were not allowed on the island and old people were shipped elsewhere to die, so that the ritual purity of the site would not be spoiled.
Miyajima is a romantic place, best enjoyed by staying overnight at one of the island’s ryokan. There are many day tourists, but in the evening the area becomes much quieter and peaceful. There are wild deer on the island that have become accustomed to people. In the day the deer wander around the same sites as the tourists, and in the evening they sleep along the walking paths.


Visiting Miyajima

Miyajima is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on top of the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan’s three best views. Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a large, red-lacquered complex of halls and pathways on stilts, originally so built that commoners could visit without defiling the island with their footprints. Weddings are occasionally held at the shrine, but that doesn’t bar visitors, and the priest’s ceremonial dance is a memorable sight.

You can also climb Mt. Mi-sen from there by ropeway or on foot along a climbing path. From the mountaintop, you can enjoy the beautiful scene of the numerous islands of the Seto Inland Sea. There are bathing beaches with campsites around the island, and sea bathers throng to the island in summer.


Practical information:

  • From JR Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station by JR Sanyo train (25 min), Yen 410 one way or covered of course by the Japan Rail Pass. Then take the 10-minute ferry from Miyajimaguchi to the island, which operates every 15 mins or so. Ferries are operated by 2 rival companies, JR and Matsudai. Tip: If you have a Japan Rail Pass, make sure to take the JR ferry, as it is free with the Pass.
  • Alternatively, you can get from Hiroshima city centre to Miyajimaguchi by tram, which is slower, only Yen 260 but not covered by the Japan Rail Pass (tram no.2, passing by the Peace Park too)
  • There is also a ferry direct from Hiroshima – the “World Heritage Sea Route” ferry operated by Aqua Net. It runs from the Motoyasubashi Pier of the Hiroshima Peace Park, with departures once per hour between 08:30 and 17:10 (returns between 08:40 and 17:30). The ride is scenic, and the boat is fast once it leaves the river and gets out into the sea. It takes 45 minutes, ¥2000 one-way, ¥3600 round-trip (half-price for children).

Miyajima on our Google map

Our packages includes Miyajima

Himeji castle

Contrasts of Japan (9 days)

From £ 1,945 p/person
This 9-day tour visits the highlights of Japan on a guided coach tour. See Tokyo, Mt.Fuji, Kawaguchiko, Nagoya, Kyoto and Hiroshima, ending in Hiroshima or Tokyo. This is a GROUP tour with regular departures until March 2019.


South Japan Express (6 days)

From £ 1,279 p/person
This coach tour will be operated regularly during 2018/19 (departure day from Osaka: Thursday). Join this group tour to travel south from Osaka and visit Kurashiki, Hiroshima and the island of Shikoku, returning to Osaka. Group tour by coach with English-speaking guide throughout.

Asakusa Temple, Tokyo

Budget Japan Tour 13 days

Discover the essentials of Japan on this Group tour from £ 1,599!
Enjoy Tokyo, Kamakura, Hakone, Kyoto, Hiroshima and Osaka in the company of like-minded budget travellers and an experienced Adventure Leader. This is a GROUP tour starting and ending in Tokyo, with departures throughout 2018.

The torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

Wonders of Japan (11 days)

From £ 2,505 p/person
See Japan by coach! This 11-day trip visits Tokyo, Kawaguchiko, Himeji, Okayama, Hiroshima and Matsuyama, ending in Osaka. This is a GROUP tour with regular departures until March 2019.



Take in the major historic sites of Japan on this semi-escorted tour. After a stay in Tokyo, with a guided tour of the city, travel to Nikko, around 95 miles north of Tokyo, and one of Japan’s most beautiful shrines. Then the historic city of Kyoto is used as a base to explore nearby Nara, […]

The torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima

Hiroshima & Miyajima 1-day tour

Travel by Bullet train from Kyoto or Osaka to Hiroshima, to visit firstly the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima, a World Heritage Site. Established in the 6th century, it is famous for its beautiful Shinden-zukuri style structure (architecture representative of a nobles’ residence in the Heian period). The vermilion-painted shrine is constructed on pillars over the […]

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