During our stay in Hiroshima, we decided to do a day trip to the island of Miyajima. I highly recommend checking it out if you like hiking, the ocean, and beautiful views. This was one of my favourite parts of our trip and I can’t wait to go back one day.
How to get there
Getting to Miyajima is super easy from Hiroshima. Take the train from wherever you are staying in Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi Station. From there it is a quick walk to the ferry pier and then a 10ish minute ferry ride to Miyajima. If you have a JR rail pass you can take the JR ferry line and it’s covered which is a bonus. There is another ferry under a different company that also leaves from this pier and if you don’t have the JR pass feel free to take whichever one you want as they both cost the same (I think it was about 180 yen one way). Make sure you take note of the ferry schedule when you disembark at Miyajima so you know when the last one leaves and you don’t get stranded on the island overnight!
What to do in Miyajima
Miyajima is a fun place to walk around. There’s the beautiful tori gate that “floats” on the water during high tide and that you can walk through during low tide.
There is also a temple right on the water (also “floating” during high tide). At this point of the trip I had seen a lot of temples and didn’t feel the need to pay to walk through it but it was really pretty just to look at from the outside.
There’s a main street filled with fun shops and yummy food (including the iconic Momiji Manju – maple leaf shaped cakes filled with all sorts of deliciousness). There are also a ton of deer on Miyajima. They are cute but also a nuisance (I fought with one over a plastic bag it was trying to steal from me). They will try to steal your food, bags, everything!
Hiking on Miyajima
Hiking on Miyajima is awesome! There is a ropeway you can take to the top of Misen Mountain but I highly recommend taking the trail below it instead! We hiked up the Momijidani Route (if you walk towards the ropeway you will see a sign leading you to the trail) and down the Ohmoto Route. We wore jeans (we went in April and the weather was cool in the mornings and evenings but hot during the day) and I was so ridiculously sweaty by the time we made it to the top! So I suggest wearing something more hiking friendly. It is a steep hike and took approximately 2 hours to get to the top (with stopping for lots of pictures and admiring the temple at the top) and about 1-1.5 hours to get back to the bottom. The views were phenomenal and the scenery was gorgeous. Everyone we came across on the route was extremely friendly and we always had a good laugh with them about how hard the hike was as we were all sweaty and exhausted!
At the top of the mountain you are not only rewarded with amazing views, there is also an observatory and a temple. The observatory is a nice place to stop and rest after the strenuous hike. There are washrooms here as well. The temple area is actually multiple halls and shrines and you can see the Kiezu no Hi – a fire that is said to have been kept burning for 1200 years and was used to light the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. Around the summit you will also see a ton of huge rocks that you will hike around/under. If you continue your hike down the Ohmoto Route like we did you will also have the opportunity to summit Mr. Komagabayashi.
Eating in Miyajima
We were just there for a day trip so we picked up breakfast at a convenience store and packed snacks for the hike. I would recommend bringing drinks for the hike as well as you will sweat and there wasn’t anywhere to get drinks along the way that I can remember! I found it difficult to find gluten free food in Miyajima so I ended up just snacking on some chips and packed onigiri. Ried enjoyed the Momiji Manju quite a bit and I wish I could have tried some! We ate dinner back in Hiroshima where it was a bit easier to find gluten free food. If you’ve been to Miyajima and had better luck with gluten free food let me know in the comments below!