Miyajima - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


Holy island that is home to Japan's most stunning shrine

About Miyajima
Miyajima is a scenic island that is easy to reach by train / tram and ferry from Hiroshima (about 1 hour). Since ancient times, the island itself has been regarded as a god within the Japanese natural religion Shinto, and for centuries it was home to only wild animals and the occasional high priest. The island's most famous attraction is the 800-year-old Itsukushima Shrine. The shrine is built on the seabed so as not to touch the sacred land.

World history and one of Japan's most impressive views
Today, Miyajima is one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations, yet a unique atmosphere still prevails. In the old days, it was taboo to give birth or die on the island and to this day, there is neither a hospital nor a cemetery here, as both would sully its purity. The island is famous for its beautiful UNESCO-protected Itsukushima Shrine dating back to 1168, built on posts in the water. The shrine is made of wood and has been rebuilt several times, but always very accurately according to the original. Further out in the sea, in front of the Shrine, is the 16-meter-high Grand Gate (otorii), named one of Japan's three most beautiful views.

Other sights on Miyajima
Miyajima has a wealth of temples and shrines and wonderful wildlife. You can walk or take the ropeway to the top of Mount Misen. Here you will find an eternal flame that is said to have been burning for 1200 years, as well as a wonderful view of the Seto Inland Sea. There are several routes up the mountain. One goes through the large and colourful Daisho-in Temple. Another goes through Momiji Valley, which is said to have the most beautiful autumn colours in all of Western Japan. On the island's shopping street you can eat delicious food and buy beautiful wooden crafts, something the island has been famous for centuries.

NOTE: The island abounds with wild shika deer, considered messengers of the gods. They eat everything, including paper, so take good care of your money and tickets!

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