Miyajima island 宮島
You know Miyajima island, I’m sure you have at least see a picture of it somewhere or
hear/read something about it, is a small (not so small when you are hiking to the top) island near Hiroshima.
Is one of the 3 views of Japan
with Matsushima and Amanohashidate and is the only
one that I have visited so far.
The magical place
Miyajima was a volcano long time ago and not so long time ago (maybe a twelve hundred years) a monk named Kōbō Daishi founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism visit the place and felt the holiness and aesthetic of the place so he decided to make it a place to stay and practice Shingon there.
People believe that the whole island is God’s body so they build a Shine also another belief is that the Gods dwell in Miyajima island.
The Shrine was made on the sea and not on land because it was considered profane to build
something on God’s land. And you can actually feel this feeling you are in a really old place, specially at night when almost no one is there.
Before going there:
-Check the weather, for us in the morning was sunny but when hiking to the top of the Mt. Misen the weather got really cold.
–Drinks: Take a bottle of water, tea or energy drinks with you, I don’t get why to spend money on drinks when you can have them for free.
there are a lot of events during the year, it would be bad to go there the same day and missing it, look for them before leaving the internet.
How to get there:
I’m currently in Hiroshima so the easiest and cheapest way to buy one day ticket and take the street bus south west to Miyajimaguchi Station and then take the ferry to Miyajima port, and from there, the island is yours!
is not a list of “the 10 things you have to do in Miyajima Island” or “Top 10 things to do in Miyajima Island” but instead my recommendations and a couple of places I would like to go next time I visit the Island.
The moment you go out of the port building you will notice a deer, a wild deer trying to eat peoples stuff, specially paper, they are friendly but also can get angry at you if you bother them so much. We waited for a friend some minutes outside the building and saw a lot of reactions of the people, the distracted boy that saw the deer just after it hit the boy forehead and he was scared as hell, the foreign guy yelling to his mom about the deer but the mom was to distracted that she didn’t even notice, the Instagram girl that acted like a food and give the deer a lot of paper just to take a good picture, we just looked at them with disapproval because too much paper for the poor animal.
The animals are everywhere in the bottom of the island, chilling, chasing some people, posing for pictures or just walking around, when you get closer to them is easy to notice that the horns has been removed, I guess is for safety reasons.
Shops, foods and souvenirs:
Walking to the Shrine you will find Omotesando Street, the main place in the town with a lot of stores full of souvenirs, restaurants, street food and candy shops, In January is the oyster festival so is a must to do, they are really good. (about 400 yen for a couple of
The floating Shrine!
If you walk from the coastline instead of the stores you will quickly notice the Red Torii Gate floating in the sea, an amazing view and the contrast within red, blue sky, dark green sea and the forest behind it is amazing. After taking as many pictures as you want to in any position you like, look for a place to sit for a while and take a time to appreciate the beauty of it.
We went wen the tide was not so high neither low so we couldn’t walk to the gate neither see the Shrine with water under it, but I bet it will be great to go on a day with low and high tide. You have to pay to get into the Shrine and see all the treasures that are inside
Maybe my favorite place on the Island, Daisho temple is that kind of places that when you arrive you feel good, peace, light, like if gravity were less on it or your thoughts got dissipated, it was our next stop and on our way to it we could see the Five-Story Pagoda and more deers.
Daisho-in Temple is one of the most important temples of Shingon Buddhism and it has a lof of things to see, after the Niomon Gate and the kings that guard the temple you will see a long stair up with 600 vulumes of Dai-hannyakyo Scripture (Buddhist scriptures) that its
believed if you read them, or touch them in their spinning metal wheels they will bring you “Enourmus fortune”, I did touch them because I cannot read Japanese.
At one side of the door there are 500 Rakan Statues of the disciples and all of them have different facial expressions, I went on winter and they had beanies in their heads and scarfs, some people leave money on them.
After the Rakan Statues you can see the Bell that it was used to tell the time in the morning, afternoon and evening, but not you can hit it with a huge piece of wood and they ring it to start the time for worship.
Then is the information office, toilets, the Kannon-do Hall with the imagine of the Deity of Mercy with eleven heads that will look for all the creatures in Earth and save them, a gigantic Sand Mandala that is made with colored sand made by Buddhist monks from the Tibet.
Walking upwards will see the Cosmic Buddha, the 1,000 Fudo images or
Now there are two paths, right will take you to Maniden Hall and left to Daishi-do Hall, both of them worth of your time and energy, yes, even if you already saw 1000 temples in Japan.
In the temple you will notice a lot of statues called Jizo Bosatsu with red bibs, this is because parents who have lost their childrend think they are their lost children so they take care of the Jizo. I found one with a child shirt and some others with baby toys, hard to
imagine the feeling they have.
|Red ribs for the lost child
Hiking to the Mt. Misen:
Before Hiking they recommend you to not doing it sleepy or after a night without good sleep because is about 90 minute hiking and over 500 meters above the sea. Some people find it hard, the track was nice, some stairs, some pathways, after few minutes we encounter snow and it was frozen, later we had some refreshing hail just after we got in the part of the trail with snow and we could feel the huge pieces of snow hitting our heads every time they fell from a tree.
|A non-Hobbit house
We tough we had reached the peak so we stop to appreciate the view and take some pictures but we were a little bit far from it, we meet some Mexican guys from Guanajuato and we all went together to the peak. From there you can see a lot of islands nearby, Hiroshima,
|This is me looking at the distance
We walked down to the eternal flame, a friend of mine was in a hurry so we took him to the gondola and we walked down.
It was good that we finish the hike before it was all dark because they have no lights on the path so it becomes a little bit dangerous, still I had a flash light that I got in Korea and the phones now are always a good tool for that.
In the island you can find an aquarium and a history museum that I didn’t visited but they seem like a good option if you don’t feel like doing the hiking.
|This is Huge!!!