Culture · Japanese Culture · Travel

Nerdy Travels: Exploring Miyajima Island

We decided to head over to Miyajima Island for our first full day in Hiroshima. This island is the one famous for its floating tori gate. We found a boat trip on the river near the A-dome which we decided to take. You could either purchase a one way or a round trip ticket for the boat and we opted for the round trip. Boats are something we rarely go on and as my mum loves them we wanted her to have a really nice experience both there and back. The trip to the island took around 45 minutes each way and it was a lovely experience overall and was a great way to start and finish the day. Tickets costed 3,600 yen each and were definitely worth the money.

The boat ride took us from the river which flowed through Hiroshima and into the sea. Whilst on the river we got to see some great views of the city and as we hit the ocean it faded out and small islands around the area began popping into view. The trip was relaxing and I thankfully didn’t get motion sickness which I was thrilled about.

When we finally reached Miyajima Island I was stunned by its beauty. Miyajima is covered in luscious green mountains with small shops, houses and restaurants dotted all around. I remember getting off the boat and walking past this hotel near the water and just looking up at the mountains and gawking. It was a surreal and beautiful moment and I adored our time there. Whilst walking we noticed that there we a lot of semi-wild deer there which is always so lovely to see. It’s nice to be able to wander around animals and them be so chilled out but they aren’t stuck in captivity as it’s their home too.

Our first stop on Miyajima was the floating tori gate. As we got there fairly early in the morning the famous floating tori was actually land bound as the tide had gone out. The photos taken of the gate in books and online make it look incredible. However, it’s a little less impressive when it’s surrounded by sand. It was kind of funny really and during this time everyone was taking the opportunity to go and take pictures right next to it. I took a few shots of it land bound and we decided we’d go back to it later on and see if the tide had come in.

We then headed towards Itsukushima shrine which is the main shrine of the island and was right on the beach near the tori gate. Like the gate when the tide comes in the shrine will also have a floating effect. We paid a couple of hundred yen to enter the shrine and when wandering through it we stopped to look at the sand and noticed these little crabs scuttling around which were adorable. They blend in well with the sand but once you spot them they are cute to watch and some of them had one giant claw and one smaller one which looked really funny. The shrine was painted bright red which made the place really pop and we just strolled through the bridge like structure on the shrine until we got to the other side. I decided to pick up a little charm at the shrine which is supposed to help with education and passing exams. I wanted this charm in particular to hopefully give me some good fortune for my second year of university. I have a lot weighing on this little charm!

After finishing at the shrine we began exploring the rest of the island and decided to head up towards the direction of the ropeway. It was quite a walk up towards the ropeway but it was worth it. There was a fee for riding on it but I don’t remember it being very expensive. The ropeway took us up towards the top of the island and there were two parts to the ride up. When we reached the top it was a breathtaking sight and we managed to get quite high up and see the surrounding ocean and other islands dotted around. You could actually climb up even further towards the very top but we decided against that. Instead we hung out on some benches for a while and took in the scenery and headed back down the ropeway.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around and just seeing what we could find. We reached one area which had little stalls selling snacks and we decided to grab some french fries and eat them on the benches near the stalls. Whilst munching my fries I was interrupted by a deer who was determined to get some salty goodness from me. The little thing came right up to me and basically put its head on my lap and I’m stuck between the bench and the deer trying to get my fries away from it. If you ever come across these semi-wild deer with food they will follow you until they get what they want. I had to basically run away awkwardly which was hilarious as you’re not supposed to feed the deer on the island. Also the fries were really good.

It started getting late in the day and we had to catch the boat back to Hiroshima by 17:30 so we just explored until our time ran out. We noticed later in the afternoon that the tide was coming in and not long before we left it had come in enough to surround the tori gate. I took this opportunity to takes some photos and I was quite pleased that I got to see a before and after of the tide coming in and out.

After saying a final goodbye to the island we headed back to the boats. We had great window seats on the trip back. I ended up taking a little nap on the ride home as I was exhausted and the ride was surprisingly soothing.

As we stepped off the boat back in Hiroshima we noticed an Italian restaurant right next to it and decided to go grab some food in there. It was pretty posh looking inside but it was reasonably priced and very delicious. I think this day was one of the most memorable on the trip and I would love to visit Miyajima again someday.

Until next time thanks for reading and I hope you’re having a great day!

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All images are taken by myself

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