Miyajima Island

Miyajima (宮島) is a small island located less than an hour from Hiroshima and is famous for its giant torii gate that appears to float when the tide is in. The island is actually called Itsukushima but is referred to as Miyajima which means ‘Shrine Island’ because of its famous shrine and it is said to be the island where God dwells. Apparently the Itsukushima Shrine was built on the coast because the whole island is believed to be God's body and is sanctified. The island is also home to a number of very tame deer who are also very greedy! Whilst the island is a popular tourist destination it is also renowned for being a peaceful and romantic place to visit.

We visited Miyajima Island as part of a day trip to Hiroshima from Tokyo in July 2015 and you can read about the full trip here. To reach the ferry port from Hiroshima Station, we took the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station (25 minutes, 410 yen one way). From the Miyajimaguchi Station it's then just a short walk to the ferry pier, from where ferries depart frequently for Miyajima. There are two competing ferry companies operating from this port: JR and Matsudai. Both companies' ferry rides take 10 minutes and cost 180 yen one way.

Upon arrival we spent some time taking photographs of the Great Torrii whilst the tide was still in and before walking a short way up hill to the Five Storey Pagoda. This pagoda is 27 meters high and is thought to have been built in the 15th century and makes for a stunning photo.

Next it was on to the Miyajima Ropeway. You can walk up to the beginning of the ropeway which takes around 20 minutes or there is a free shuttle bus that picks you up at the bottom and takes you to the station entrance.

The ropeway is actually a cable car and neither of us had quite appreciated how long the journey to the summit would be. The first leg took around 15 minutes in a small car (up to 6 passengers) before reaching a transfer terminal into a larger car (up to 20 passengers) before we reached the viewing point. An adult return journey costs 1,800 yen and the views really are spectacular so it was well worth it!