The famous floating torii gate on Miyajima Island is what first led us to discovering this stunning day trip spot. Sitting close to Hiroshima, Miyajima Island is a popular day trip getaway for those staying in the area and is a commonly coupled with a trip to Hiroshima to visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum, if you are coming from Osaka or Kyoto. We visited Miyajima whilst staying in Osaka and whilst it is a commonly travelled route, let me warn you it is actually pretty far away!
How to get to Miyajima from Osaka:
The best way to get to Miyajima from Osaka is to first get from where you are staying to Shin-Osaka station. This is the main station for catching bullet trains in and out of the city. At Shin-Osaka station, take a bullet train/shinkansen to Hiroshima station. At Hiroshima station, transfer to a local train (the JR Sanyo Line, covered by JR passes), to Miyajima-guchi station. At Miyajima-guchi station, transfer to the ferry terminal (which is across the road from the station) to catch the ferry (also covered by JR passes) to Miyajima island. All up, I would say the journey can take around 2.5 hours so be sure to start your day early, end it late and book in a sleep in the next morning!
Visiting Hiroshima and Miyajima on the same day:
Note, if you wanting to couple Miyajima with a trip to Hiroshima (which is really close to Miyajima), then you can get off at Hiroshima station and first visit the Peace Memorial Park and Museum area. To get here, you need to take a tram (No #2 or #6) from the south exit of Hiroshima station. The stop you get off at is ‘Genbaku-domu-mae’ which is Japanese for the ‘A-Bomb Dome’. It takes 12 mins and costs 160 yen and you pay the tram driver only when you get off the tram, in a small money box next to the tram driver’s seat.
Outfit details: Lucid the Label relaxed high split trench in pale pink | Lack of Colour pink velour boater hat | Michael Kors Ginny cross body bag | Keepsake Rhythm lace top | Zara gingham skirt | Bared Footwear Lyrebird sneakers
Things to do on Miyajima Island:
Whilst Miyajima Island may look unwalkable on Google Maps, you’ll be happy to hear that all the tourist attractions are actually all congregated in the area where the ferry arrives, making everything here super convenient and easy to do. We spent a large part of the day on Miyajima Island and whilst we didn’t get to tick off everything on our list of things to see due to Tom’s injury, one day is definitely enough to see everything we saw and a lot more too.
A few things we recommend on Miyajima Island are..
The Floating Torii
The famous floating torii of Miyajima Island is the main attraction bringing people to visit the island. This shinto shrine is best known for its ‘floating’ silhouette on the water and is a famous symbol of Japan. The meaning behind this particular shrine comes from the idea that the entire island was once considered sacred and the shrine served as a symbolic gateway to the island itself, dividing the spirit and the human world. During high tide the shrine ‘floats’ in the sea and during low tide you can walk around it!
Visit Itsukushima Shrine:
For a few hundred yen, you can enter Itsukushima Shrine area and view the floating torii from an alternative vantage point as well.
Try the oysters:
Miyajima is a popular place to try oysters and they are sold everywhere along the main street as street food. We tried quite a few oyster snacks here including grilled oysters which are delicious! You will walk past these stalls for sure so do make sure you stop and try a few.
Try the okonomiyaki here:
The okonomiyaki restaurant we went to on Miyajima Island was tucked behind in a small street near Itsukushima Shrine. It served up a delicious okonomiyaki that was quite different to the standard ones you find elsewhere and in Osaka. Here, you can choose to have your okomiyaki with either soba or udon noodles and they cook it together to create a really big and hearty meal. As always, the food in Japan tastes delicious so if you do stumble upon this restaurant, I would recommend having a bite! If you’re only down for a snack, I would recommend you share one okonomiyaki, because the ones they serve up here are definitely meal sized (at least for me).
Visit the shopping street for even more food and souvenirs!
I’m not sure what exactly this street is called, but there is a shopping street on Miyajima island that is kind of parallel to path that borders the water and takes you to the floating torii. So you can walk along the water towards the shrine, then head back to the ferry terminal through the shopping street. On this street, there are heaps of food stalls, souvenirs and other things and one of the snacks I was recommended to try was the Momiji Manju, a maple leaf shaped snack that is sold almost everywhere here. They come in a heap of different flavours with my favourite being green tea. You can also buy these as souvenirs to take home but do check the expiry date if you are not heading home just yet as the ones I looked at had expiry dates within a couple of weeks.
Say hi to the local deer of Miyajima:
There are quite a few deers living on Miyajima island and whilst I’m pretty sure not allowed to feed them (unlike in Nara, where you can purchase deer biscuits to feed them) they are still entertaining to say hi to. If you have food, you will definitely get stalked by them and if you are holding anything that looks interesting, you’ll most definitely get followed too.
Have some matcha ice-cream
Give me matcha anything! We finished our trip with some matcha soft serve from a small shop near the ferry terminal.. so recommended, it tastes sooo delicious.
Hope you guys find these tips and suggestions useful if you visit Miyajima next :) I would love to go back to the island some time in the future and cover some of the other activities we didn’t have a chance to do. There’s always something more to see in Japan, isn’t there?