Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, is a picturesque island located in Hiroshima Bay, Japan. It is renowned for its iconic floating torii gate, which appears to be suspended in water during high tide. The island is home to several Shinto shrines and temples, including the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can explore the scenic beauty of Miyajima by hiking through the lush forests, encountering friendly deer along the way. The island offers stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea and is a popular destination for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful retreat.
The Enchanting Island of Miyajima: A Must-Visit Destination for Travellers
Are you a travel enthusiast looking for a unique and captivating destination to add to your bucket list? Look no further than Miyajima, a small island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. With its breathtaking natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and iconic attractions, Miyajima offers an unforgettable experience for all types of travelers. Join us as we delve into the enchanting world of Miyajima and discover why it should be on your travel radar.
Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima Island, is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes that leave visitors in awe. As you approach the island by ferry, you’ll be greeted by the iconic sight of the famous floating torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine. This vermillion gate stands majestically in the water, creating a picture-perfect scene against the backdrop of the lush mountains.
Once on the island, take a leisurely stroll through the enchanting Momijidani Park, where you can witness the vibrant colors of maple trees during autumn. The park also offers picturesque hiking trails that lead to Mount Misen, the highest peak on Miyajima. From the summit, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea and the surrounding islands.
Miyajima is steeped in history and is considered a sacred place in Japan. The island is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Itsukushima Shrine, which dates back to the 6th century. The shrine is famous for its unique architectural style and its stunning reflection in the water during high tide. Visitors can explore the shrine’s intricate halls, pagodas, and gardens while learning about its significance in Japanese culture.
Another must-visit attraction is the Daisho-in Temple, a Buddhist temple that exudes tranquility and spirituality. The temple features a collection of over 500 stone statues, each with its own unique expression and message. Take your time to immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance and soak in the wisdom imparted by these ancient sculptures.
Nature lovers will find plenty to explore on Miyajima. The island is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer that roam freely throughout the streets. These friendly creatures are considered sacred and are protected by local traditions, adding a touch of charm to your visit.
For those seeking more adventurous activities, Miyajima offers opportunities for hiking, kayaking, and even scuba diving. Embark on a thrilling hike up Mount Misen, where you can encounter wild monkeys and enjoy breathtaking views along the way. Or explore the crystal-clear waters surrounding the island while diving or kayaking, immersing yourself in the vibrant marine life beneath the surface.
No trip to Miyajima is complete without indulging in its delectable culinary offerings. The island is famed for its fresh seafood, particularly oysters. Whether you prefer them grilled or served in a delicious bowl of rice, Miyajima’s oysters are a true delicacy not to be missed.
Stroll through the lively streets of Omotesando Shopping Street and sample local street food such as Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki (savory pancake) or momiji manju (maple leaf-shaped cakes). These mouthwatering treats are perfect for satisfying your hunger as you explore the island’s charming shops and boutiques.
To reach Miyajima, take a train from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi Station, followed by a short ferry ride to the island. The ferry operates frequently throughout the day, making it convenient for travelers.
When planning your visit, keep in mind that Miyajima experiences different seasons, each offering its own unique charm. Spring brings cherry blossoms in full bloom, while autumn paints the island in vibrant hues of red and gold. Consider timing your visit accordingly to witness nature’s beauty at its finest.
In terms of accommodations, Miyajima offers a range of options, from traditional ryokans (Japanese inns) to modern hotels. Wake up to breathtaking views of the island’s natural wonders or indulge in traditional Japanese hospitality for an authentic experience.
Miyajima is a hidden gem that captures the hearts of travelers from around the world. Its picturesque landscapes, sacred sites, and warm hospitality make it an ideal destination for those seeking tranquility and cultural immersion. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, or a food lover, Miyajima has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags and embark on an unforgettable journey to this enchanting island – Miyajima awaits your arrival!
A little bit of history
Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, is a small island located in the Hiroshima Bay, Japan. It has a rich history dating back to ancient times.
The island is famous for its iconic Itsukushima Shrine, which was first built in the 6th century. The shrine is known for its unique “floating” torii gate, which appears to be standing in the water during high tide.
During the Heian period (794-1185), Miyajima became an important religious site and a place of pilgrimage. Many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines were built on the island during this time.
In the 12th century, the Taira clan, one of the most powerful samurai families, took control of Miyajima and established a military base there. They built fortifications and a castle on the island to defend against potential attacks.
During the Sengoku period (1467-1615), Miyajima was attacked and conquered by various warlords. The island exchanged hands multiple times and witnessed several battles.
In the late 16th century, the famous warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi visited Miyajima and ordered the construction of a grand hall within the Itsukushima Shrine complex. The hall, known as the “Senjokaku,” was intended as a place for Buddhist sutra chanting.
In 1555, Miyajima suffered a devastating fire that destroyed many of its buildings, including parts of the Itsukushima Shrine. However, the shrine and its torii gate were later rebuilt and restored to their former glory.
During the Meiji period (1868-1912), Miyajima underwent significant changes as Japan opened up to the outside world. Modern infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, were constructed on the island to accommodate increasing tourism.
Miyajima played a role in World War II when it served as a military base for the Japanese Navy. The island was heavily bombed by Allied forces during the war, causing significant damage to its buildings and natural environment.
After World War II, Miyajima was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996. Today, it remains a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty, historical significance, and cultural heritage.
Best Time to Visit Miyajima
The best time to visit Miyajima is during spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November). During these seasons, the weather is mild and pleasant, and you can enjoy the vibrant cherry blossoms in spring or the beautiful autumn foliage. The summer months can be quite hot and humid, while winter brings colder temperatures. However, Miyajima is a popular tourist destination all year round, so you can plan your visit based on your preferences and availability.
Must Do and See in Miyajima
Here are some must-see attractions and activities in Miyajima:
- Itsukushima Shrine: Visit the iconic shrine with its floating torii gate.
- Mount Misen: Hike or take a ropeway for panoramic views.
- Daisho-in Temple: Explore the important Buddhist temple and Henjokutsu Cave.
- Miyajima Aquarium: See marine life from the Seto Inland Sea.
- Momijidani Park: Enjoy the autumn foliage and serene atmosphere.
- Omotesando Shopping Street: Shop, dine, and try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki.
- Oyster Tasting: Sample fresh oysters in various dishes.
These are just a few highlights of what Miyajima has to offer. Enjoy your visit!
Things you should avoid doing in Miyajima
When visiting Miyajima, there are a few things you should avoid doing to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience:
Do not touch or feed the wild deer: Miyajima is known for its friendly deer population. While they may seem approachable, it’s important to remember that they are still wild animals. Avoid touching or feeding them as it can disrupt their natural behavior and potentially harm them.
Do not remove or damage any natural or cultural artifacts: Miyajima is home to several sacred and historical sites, including Itsukushima Shrine and its famous floating torii gate. It is essential to respect these cultural treasures and refrain from removing or damaging any artifacts.
Do not litter: Keep Miyajima clean by disposing of your trash properly. There are designated trash bins throughout the island, so make sure to use them. Avoid leaving any waste behind, including cigarette butts.
Do not climb on or deface trees or structures: Miyajima’s forests are home to diverse plant and animal species. Climbing on trees can cause damage to the ecosystem and disrupt wildlife habitats. Additionally, refrain from defacing any structures or carving your name into trees or buildings.
Do not swim in prohibited areas: While the beaches around Miyajima may be tempting for a swim, some areas are designated as off-limits due to safety concerns or environmental preservation efforts. Follow the signs and guidelines provided to ensure your safety and protect the island’s natural resources.
Remember, respecting the local culture, wildlife, and environment is crucial when visiting Miyajima or any other destination. By being mindful of these guidelines, you can contribute to the preservation of this beautiful island for future generations to enjoy.