Let’s play a game. Think about a typical landmark in Japan…Many of you have just thought about this typical orange Torii (Japanese gate) that seems to be floating in the water. Does it ring a bell? Well, this Torii is part of the Itsukushima Shrine and is located on Miyajima Island right outside the city gates of Hiroshima.
In this article, you can read our comprehensive Miyajima Itinerary, including the best places to visit on Miyajima and a bunch of helpful travel tips. In this Miyajima 1-day itinerary, you can find all information you need for your Miyajima Day trip from Hiroshima.
Quick info about Miyajima, Japan
- The real name of this island is “Itsukushima.”
- Island around 20 km South of Hiroshima
- The size of the island is 30.33 km²
- The name Miyajima means “Shrine Island.”
- The Itsukushima-Shrine and its famous orange torii have belonged to the UNESCO World Heritage since 1996
- Deer is walking around the island freely
- On the island, you might find snow monkeys
- A typical souvenir of this island is a wooden rice spoon
Where to stay in Miyajima: Mizuhasou Ryokan (Great traditional Japanese ryokan in the central part of Miyajima)
The most popular activities & tours in Miyajima
Water torii during different tides
Try the delicious Momiji Manju on Omotesando Street
How to get there: Check and compare flights on sites like Skyscanner. From Hiroshima, take a train (30 minutes) and then the ferry (about 10 minutes ride).
Transport on-site: Walking
Miyajima Must-Have: Japan Travel Guide
Where is Miyajima?
Miyajima is located at the gateway to the Japanese city of Hiroshima, around 20 km away. The small island belongs to the Hiroshima prefecture. Check our map above for its exact location in Japan.
How to get to Miyajima?
From Hiroshima Station (JR Hiroshima Station), you can take the train to Miyajimaguchi. The duration of the trip is around 30 Minuten and costs 420 Yen (ca. $ 3). From there, you can find the port after a short walk.
Extra tip: Take the underpass because the road to the port can not be crossed on foot. Follow the signs to the port.
From Miyajimaguchi port, take a ferry. There are two companies which you can choose from. Each ticket costs 180 Yen (ca. $ 1.30). So economically speaking, it doesn’t matter which one you are choosing.
But we got recommended to use the JR Line as this one drives by nearer the orange torii. Thus, you get a better view of it.
Miyajima Extra tip: If you are traveling with a JR pass, you can take the JR Line ferry between Hiroshima and Miyajimaguchi free of charge.
A comprehensive Miyajima Itinerary for an Amazing Day Trip
The orange “floating” Torii
Important note: Construction work is currently taking place on the famous orange water torii. This work is expected to continue until the end of 2022. The torii may be covered at the time of your visit.
Miyajima is most famous for the Itsukushima Shrine with its orange torii. The unique thing about this torii is its location in the middle of the water. Because of its location, one could almost think that the torii would float in the water.
What many visitors do not know, however, is that the orange gate is not always in the water. Depending on whether the tide is high or low (depending on the time of day), you may simply walk to the torii in the dry.
It is, therefore, worth asking about the current tides before you arrive. So, with a bit of luck, you can examine the Torii “floating in the water” but also at low tide. The advantage of low tide is that you can walk right up to the torii and see it up close.
Extra tip: A visit is also worthwhile in the evening. After a usually beautiful sunset (especially worthwhile at high tide), the Torii is illuminated daily until 11 pm.
Opening hours Itsukushima: 06.30 am – 6 pm (Opening hours may vary depending on the season. Check the current opening hours here)
Entrance fee Itsukushima: 300 Yen (approx. $ 2) or 500 Yen (approx. $ 3.50) for a comb ticket with Treasure Hall
As early as the 6th century, this impressive shrine was built, which is still considered one of the most popular sights in Japan. The shrine has looked the way it does today already since the 12th century – 1168, to be exact. Since that year, also stands the famous 16-meter high torii, which had once been the gateway to the sacred island.
But not only the famous water torii of Miyajima make the Itsukushima shrine a unique sight. After all, the imposing shrine is built on logs. Thus, the religious complex also seems to float on the water at high tide. Because at this time of day, the temple is surrounded by water.
The shrine can be reached during high tide (and, of course, during low tide) via wooden bridges. Wooden walkways also connect the different parts of the complex.
Itsukushima Shrine Treasure Hall
Öffnungszeiten Itsukushima Treasure Hall: 08 – 17 Uhr
Entrance fee Itsukushima Treasure Hall: 300 yen (approx. $ 2) or 500 yen (approx. $ 3.50) for a combi ticket with Itsukushima Shrine
A visit to the Itsukushima Treasure Hall is also worthwhile. The hall houses an extensive collection of Buddhist art from Japan and China. This collection includes statues, paintings, and scrolls. Many of the valuable exhibits were donated by prominent figures from the surrounding cities of Japan.
Goju-no-to – the 5-storied pagoda of Miyajima
Opening Hours Goju-no-to: 08.30 am – 04.30 pm
Entrance Fee Goju-no-to: free of charge
Walking around the island, the sight of Miyajima’s 5-story pagoda (Gojunoto) will certainly not escape your attention. The vast pagoda stands on a small hill, which makes its impressive size even more prominent.
Architecture buffs will undoubtedly notice that this early 15th-century Japanese pagoda has distinct Chinese influences, which makes it quite unique. If you are less interested in architecture, you will indeed be enchanted by the beautiful view from here. However, the pagoda itself cannot be entered.
Senjokaku – The Hall of a Thousand Tatami Mats
Opening Hours: 08.30 am – 04.30 pm
Entrance Fee: free of charge
On the same complex of the 5-story pagoda, we can also find another interesting building, The Hall of a Thousand Tatami Mats. In fact, the actual name of the shrine is Kokoku Shrine. Despite this, the vast hall is usually referred to as the Hall of a Thousand Tatami Mats, as this gives an estimate of its approximate size.
The shrine was built under the order of the critical Japanese politician Toyotomi Hideyoshi and was never completely finished. Today the hall is also dedicated to him.
Opening Hours Daisho-in: 08 am – 05 pm
Entrance Fee Daisho-in: free of charge
In addition to the famous Itsukushima Shrine, there are other popular sights and temples to explore during your visit to Miyajima. One of them is the Daisho-in temple. This fantastic temple is only a 15-minute walk from the port. The temple was founded in 806 and is known for its gorgeous gardens. A variety of plants grow in the gardens, including Japanese maples, azaleas, and camellias.
Besides that, many Buddha statues in the temple can be found spread all over the temple complex. Another popular sight at the temple is a large bell every visitor can ring once. From the top, you also have a great view of the island down to the orange Torii.
The Daisho-in Temple is considered one of the most important representatives of Shingon Buddhism in Japan. Other parts of the temple can be found on the top of Mount Misen, at the foot of which the temple is located.
Mt. Misen, with its 500 meters height, is the highest mountain in the middle of the island. A visit here is ideal for a walk or hiking. But a cable car can also take you up to enjoy an incredible view of the island and its unique nature. On clear days you can even see as far as Hiroshima.
The ascent to the top takes about 1½ to 2 hours and is usually easy to do. There are three different hiking trails to reach the top of the mountain. It is only vital that you don’t walk up too late to be back down before dark.
If you visit Miyajima Island only on a day trip, you might want to take a shorter walk as your time might be a little too tight to see it all.
On your ascent, you will find impressive peaceful nature, incredible viewpoints, and some religious relics belonging to the Daisho-in temple, located at the foot of the mountain.
With some luck, you can even spot a few wild monkeys next to the little deer on the way up. However, many monkeys have been brought to surrounding monkey parks in recent years. A reason for this is that the population has grown too much.
Important: Even if you take the cable car up, you still have to walk at least 1 km to reach the top of the mountain. Access to the cable car is about a 10-minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine.
The Deer of Miyajima
Another reason that drives many visitors to the island is the free-roaming deer. Similar to Nara, deer can be found on Miyajima as far as you see. So you should take good care of your bags, especially if you carry food.
We were able to observe several deer who (more or less successfully) attacked visitors to steal their food. And when they are not after the visitors’ food, they stop at the street food stands. Because why not try?
Omotesando is the main visitor street of Miyajima. Here you will find restaurants, shops, and street food stands (and deer, of course).
There are a lot of delicious Japanese dishes and specialties to try on this street. It is hardly surprising that this street is considered the most famous street on the island.
When visiting Omotesando Street, you should definitely try Momiji Manju, which is so popular here. This is a pastry filled with red bean paste. A typical delicacy for the island, and it’s absolutely delicious.
Miyajima Public Aquarium
Opening Hours Aquarium Miyajima: 09 am – 05 pm
Entrance Fee Aquarium Miyajima: 1.420 Yen (ca. $ 10)
There is also an aquarium on the island. If you are interested in sea creatures or are traveling with children, you should definitely not miss this activity. In addition to much interesting fish and exotic marine life, special events every day await you. Among other things, seal feeding and Penguin Fun Times are events that are offered at the Miyajima Aquarium.
Miyajima Day Trip or Overnight Stay?
Miyajima is simply a great destination. Whether you choose a day trip or an overnight stay doesn’t really matter. Of course, it also depends on how much time you have at hand for your visit. In the following paragraph, you will find the advantages and disadvantages of a day trip to Miyajima and an overnight stay.
Benefits Miyajima Day trip
- Doesn’t take much time
- You can also visit the city from Kyoto or Osaka
Drawbacks Miyajima Day Trip
- not much time on the island, especially if you are arriving from Kyoto or Osaka ⇒ relatively long journey
- Often you only see the Torii at one time, i.e., either during the high tide or low tide
Benefits overnight stay in Miyajima
- More flexible regarding time
- You can experience the torii during different tides (low tide and high tide)
- You can discover the island with far fewer tourists around
- Miyajima is the perfect place for an overnight stay in a ryokan
Drawbacks overnight stay in Miyajima
- Takes more time than a day trip
- After 6 pm all shops and many restaurants close their doors
The best place to stay in Miyajima
If you decide to stay on this unique island, we strongly recommend you spend the night in a traditional Japanese ryokan. Even though such an overnight stay is not particularly cheap, it is still considered one of the most extraordinary experiences you will undoubtedly remember even a long time after your trip to Japan.
This typically traditional 2-star ryokan is definitely one of the best and most popular accommodations on the island (so be sure to book in advance!). You can choose between a traditional Japanese room and a Western-style room (we definitely recommend the Japanese one to enjoy the whole experience).
The accommodation is within a short walk of Itsukushima Shrine and the Ferry Terminal.
Each room comes with a flat-screen TV. However, bathrooms are shared with other guests, as is customary in a traditional ryokan.
For the complete Japanese experience, yukata robes and house clothes are also available for all guests. The excellent breakfast is included in all reservations. Depending on the reservation, guests may also have a typical traditional Japanese dinner included in the price, where fish and seafood lovers, in particular, will get their money’s worth.
Would you rather stay in Hiroshima?
To check all accommodations in Hiroshima, click here.
FAQ about traveling to Miyajima
We recommend spending at least one day on the island. If you also want to discover the nearby city of Hiroshima, you should plan a good 2-3 days if possible.
The ferry crossing from Miyajimaguchi to Miyajima only takes around 10 minutes. During the trip, you have a fantastic view of the island’s famous Torii.
After the tourists leave the island, it can become tranquil on the island. But if you always wanted to spend the night in a traditional ryokan, Miyajima is the perfect opportunity.
In theory, that is possible. To do this, you must start very early in the morning and probably be on your feet all day. We, therefore, recommend that you plan at least 2 days to explore these two great places in Japan.
Miyajima is especially famous for its Torii, which belongs to the Itsukushima shrine. Everyone has probably seen the picture of the famous “Toriis floating in the water” before.
Yes, you can. You can take the JR Line ferry from Miyajimaguchi with the JR Pass for free. The same applies to the JR train between Hiroshima and Miyajimaguchi.
That is entirely up to you. Those who like it quietly will find excellent accommodation in Miyajima. If you prefer to stay in a city and want to go out in the evening, you are better off in Hiroshima.
Since the two Japanese cities of Osaka and Kyoto are very close together, the ride on the high-speed train only makes a difference of around 10 minutes. So it doesn’t matter which of the cities you come from.
Miyajima means “shrine island.” The very name already refers to the Itsukushima shrine on the island, which is also the actual namesake of the island.
Read more of our Japan Travel Guides to plan your trip to Japan perfectly.
- Our ultimate two-week Japan itinerary
- Things you should definitely know before you travel to Japan
- How much does a trip to Japan cost? – All our Japan Travel costs at a glance
Have you ever been to Miyajima? What was your absolute highlight? Or do you have any questions about the island? Let us know in the comments below!