Miyajima for Beginners
Miyajima is a tourist attraction representing Hiroshima. It is counted as one of the three most scenic spots in Japan, and many people visit it every year. Here are some must-see spots you should definitely stop by when you visit Miyajima.
First, go to Itsukushima Shrine
The symbol of an island floating in the Seto Inland Sea
Itsukushima Shrine was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1996. The shrine built by Taira no Kiyomori is one of the most famous shrines in Japan that conveys the style of Shinden-zukuri in the Heian period, with an original arrangement structure based on the sea. At 200m off the coast of the precincts, there is a large torii gate with a height of about 16 meters, which is also a symbol of Miyajima, built only under its own weight, and you can walk to the bottom when the tide goes down. The vermilion-lacquered shrine, which connects the sea with a corridor, looks like it floats in the sea when the tide is full, creating a unique world view.
Natural monuments too! Misen
The sacred mountain that rises behind Itsukushima Shrine
Misen, the main peak of Miyajima at an altitude of 535 meters, was founded by Kobo Daishi in 806. You can see the beauty of the natural forest, the varied landscape dotted with giant rock formations, and the archipelago beauty of the Seto Inland Sea, where oyster rafts are characteristic, and from the observation deck at the top of the mountain, you can see Mt. Shikuni in the distance. Coniferous forests are mixed with southern plants, and primitive plants remain in nature. The “Yushan Primitive Forest” is designated as a national natural monument and is part of the World Heritage Site Designated Area.
Enjoy the nature of the four seasons! Momijidani Park
A famous spot for fall foliage representing Miyajima
It is a park that spreads along the Momijidani River in the valley at the foot of Mt. Misen, which has about 700 autumn leaves. It was pioneered in the Edo period and is said to have started when maple saplings were planted. The beautiful garden is created by a local gardener in Hiroshima, and the stone is used in its natural form without damaging the local ones. Furthermore, trees are not cut, and the concrete surface is wrapped in field stone so that it does not come into contact with the eyes, taking into consideration not only safety but also the natural environment. You can fully enjoy the changing nature with cherry blossoms in spring, fresh greenery in summer, and autumn leaves in autumn.
The whole Seto Inland Sea! Miyajima Aquarium
Conveying the nature and characteristics of the Seto Inland Sea
Miyajima Aquarium (nicknamed Miyaji Marine) is one of the leading aquariums in the Chugoku region that exhibits more than 13,000 items of 350 species, centering on creatures from the Seto Inland Sea, including the symbol Finless porpoises. With the basic philosophy of “healing” and “petting”, it is a participatory and experience-based aquarium where you can feel closer to the creatures of the sea. The museum is full of highlights such as “Umi no Megumi,” which reproduces oyster rafts floating in the sea, “Healing Sea”, the largest in Miyajima Aquarium, and “Fureai no Iso,” where you can directly touch the creatures on the shore.
A must-eat! Miyajima gourmet
Taste the two major gourmet foods of Miyajima
When you visit Miyajima, you should definitely try “conger eel rice” and “oysters.”
The conger eel caught in Ono Seto, which faces Miyajima, is exceptional in flavor and softness. “Conger eel rice,” which brings out the flavor of conger eel with a lot of fat, is known as a specialty of Miyajima.
Like conger eel, “oysters” farmed in Ono Seto are superb gems in both aroma, taste, and chewiness. It contains plenty of flavor and minerals from the shore, and the moment you put it in your mouth, the unique flavor spreads firmly. Let’s fully enjoy the blessings of the sea nurtured in the Seto Inland Sea.
Miyajima souvenirs with a deep history
The royal road “Momiji manju” and “shakushi (shakushi)” of Miyajima souvenirs
Speaking of Miyajima souvenirs, after all, momiji manju. Momiji manju was born in 1906. It is said that it started when Miyajima’s ryokan Iwaso no Okami commissioned Takatsu Tsunesuke confectionery craftsmen to make it. In addition to koshi-an and tsubu-an, you can enjoy a variety of flavors, from chocolate, custard, matcha, and cheese, which are now standard, to unique variants devised for each store. There are many shops that can only be found on the island, so why not find your favorite momiji manju and use it as a souvenir?
Shakushi, a representative Miyajima souvenir along with momiji manju, is a traditional craft boasting a history of more than 200 years, and is popular not only as a practical item but also as a lucky souvenir. It seems that it became famous as a lucky charm because of the phrase “to meet happiness.” Be sure to buy it for your family and friends, as well as for yourself and go home.