Miyajima | Japan

June 2017

Words and photography by Amanda Lind, edited by ReadReverie.

Miyajima Day Trip

‘Island of Gods’ on the beautiful Seto Inland Sea.

Miyajima is a picturesque and historical island where you can find the Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, along with the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen, and many more shrines, temples and monuments.

The island was accessible with the JR Rail Pass on the ferry and can be done as a day trip from Hiroshima. We picked up a local travel magazine and Miyajima Island had won a local award for the Best Day Trip.

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Eat

Cafe Lente – The cafe is perfectly located on the along the shore line with beautiful views of the ocean and the Istukushima Shrine, Floating Tori Gate. Despite it’s central location the cafe was quiet and tranquil with an open terrace to take in the picturesque view. The interior was simple yet stylish and the menu was curated simply with two main dishes (one meat and a vegetarian option) and two dessert options. The coffee served is organic and at night time it is open as a bar serving alcoholic beverages.  The menu changes frequently but we enjoyed the Red Rice and Spinach Soya Milk Risotto and the Spicy Dip Noodles Hiroshima Style.

Location – 1167-3 Miyajimacho Kitaonishicho, Hatsukaichi 739-0588, Hiroshima Prefecture

Coconca Anco – Situated along the main shopping street in Miyajima the shop specialises in handmade Japanese sweets made using local ingredients from the Setouchi area. The kitchen can be viewed through a glass window and you can see how much care they take over making the sweets. Great for eating straight away if you cannot resist but also packaged beautifully and would make a great gift. Eat the filled pastry swirls with sweet custard and matcha green tea cream.

Location – 1 Chome-12-5 Miyajimaguchi, Hatsukaichi, Japan

Miyajima Oysters – The island is famous for their oyster that at local and caught just off the coast line. You can see the nets and baskets as you cross over to the island on the ferry.

We tried some simply grilled from a stall that we passed.

There are also a couple of restaurants that were recommended to us. See below.

Yakigaki-no-Hayashi – Served oysters in every way possible, crumbed, fried, barbecued and raw.

Location – 505-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588, Japan

Kaki-ya – Oyster bar serving them straight off the BBQ in their shells and also serving in a variety of styles in their ‘kakiya set.’ They also have a well stocked wine cellar.

Location – 539 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588, Japan

Momiji Manju – The Momiji Manju cakes are one of the most famous Japanese desserts on the island. Momiji translates to ‘maple’ and the cakes are shaped as little maple leaves. The dough is mildly sweet and made using a traditional Japanese cake mixture. Traditionally these are filled with azuki bean jam that is a smooth texture. You can pick these up at various places along the main shopping street and also as gifts.

Caffeine

Miyajima Coffee – Despite the Island being a tourist hot spot the coffee here is quality and you can also treat yourself to some tasty cakes. The cafe is relaxed with a more European feel than traditional Japanese.

More caffeine

Sarasvati – Serves quality coffee over two floors in a traditional Japanese wooden building. The coffee shop has an enticing smell of freshly ground coffee with grinders in out in the open and bags of coffee piled high. There are also cakes and treats to eat.

Location – 407 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima Prefecture 739-0588, Japan

See

Sika Deer – These friendly deer roam freely all over the Island and are not afraid to interact with tourists. They are confident and will have no hesitation to approach you if you have food. According to local Folklore the deer were considered to be sacred messengers of the gods and there is an estimated 1,200 deer on the Island.

Itsukushima Shrine – This shrine is what the Island is famous for and of course named after. ‘Miyajima’ translates to Shrine Island. On of the most iconic features is the ‘Floating Torii Gate.’ The shrine and the torii gate are built over water and appear to float in the sea during high tide. The shrine complex consists of many buildings, including a prayer hall, a main hall and a noh theater stage, all connected by boardwalks and supported by pillars above the sea.

Daisho-in – Although Daishoin is not as well known as Itsukushima Shrine, it has many features that are well worth seeing. It is located at the foot of the thickly forested Misen, and is one of the most famous temples in Miyajima.

Climb Mount Misen

The Daishoin Route: Daishoin – Shiroito Fall – Summit: About 3 km

This has long been a paved path to visit Misen. It is also called the Misen Sando. The Takinomiya Shrine and Shiraito Fall are along the way. Many marking stones an stone buddhasd can be found as well. There are more than 2,000 stone steps to the summit. At the sixth marking stone near Satomiya Mura, there is a spot to view the Torii so beautiful that you can feel a sense of accomplishment. If you want to take the easier route up or down the  mountain there is a cable car with stunning views across from the Island to the sea.

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