Miyajima is about an hour away from Hiroshima. A 30 minutes train ride and 30 minute ferry ride will get you to this small island in Hiroshima Bay. In Japanese, Miyajima means Shrine Island and this island certainly has a fascinating history. It's known to be home of the gods and because the Shinto religion stresses the importance of nature, Miyajima was built to represent paradise.
The famous Itsukushima Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage site that can be seen from afar as you approach Miyajima on ferry. Out of respect for the gods and the sacredness of this island, nothing was built and no one lived on Miyajima for over thousands of years. This shrine was built on piers in the Seto Sea because the island was too sacred for commoners to step foot on.
Times have changed though and eventually the Japanese began to live on the island. However, it is still forbidden to die or be buried on the land so there are no hospitals or graveyards on Miyajima. There are, however, a handful of hotels that line the side of the island and offer an incredible view of the Itsukushima Shrine
The island is home to deers who have lived on this land for more than 6,000 years. The Shinto religion believe them to be messengers of the gods and so they roam free all over the island. The deers are friendly and definitely not afraid to ask their human friends for food. They have learned to adapt over the years from the crowds of tourists who visit the island. The one who befriended me had just finished eating my map before this photo was snapped and clearly wanted more.
You might think that a day trip would be suffice, but you’d be wrong. There’s so much to do and see here! You have basically two options:
Book a room for at least one night if you don’t want to do the one hour train and ferry ride each way.
Get up at the crack of dawn, which I did not do thanks to jet lag, and spend the entire day exploring this island
The one thing that occupied 90% of my time here was the view of the Itsukushima Shrine. I wanted to see it from this angle and that angle and take pictures of it in this light and that light. The best time to view it is during high tide when the torii looks like it is floating in the sea. Before I knew it, I missed the last ropeway up to Mount Misen! The other 10% of the time, I was distracted by deers.