Miyajima Island, A Mountain Hike and The Famous Floating Tori Gate

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How To Visit Miyajima And That Torii Gate, Hiroshima

Famous for its “floating” Tori gate, Miyajima Island (which literally means “shrine island in Japanese) is a major tourism location in Hiroshima. The Torii gate is built in the bay so at high tide appears to be floating in the water. The complex on the island is connected by boardwalks and consists of a prayer hall, a theater and the main hall.

A visit to Miyajima is well worth it and I would highly recommend a day trip to this interesting island.


My stay in Hiroshima was in the red light district, which I didn't actually realise until I got there, however it was an excellent place to stay. I got my little apartment from AirBnB and Aki my host was so easy to deal with. I thought I was doing a share until the day prior and I realised I'd booked the entire apartment. To be honest by this stage I was so glad for the privacy I didn't mind the slightly higher cost. Fully my responsibility – I think I was looking at one thing and booked another.

In saying “The Red Light” district, it is very much a night time area, however I'm not meaning there are drug dealers and hookers roaming the streets. I just mean during the day a lot of things are closed up but when you come home after 9pm the place is thumping! Luckily Aki's place was very sound proof and I didn't have a challenge but there are restaurants and clubs everywhere come the evening.

​Check our Aki's place on AirBnB if you are going to Hiroshima in the future. The location is superb, there is so much to eat and drink so close by and you are within 4-5 mins of all the major trams. Perfect location.

Itsukushima Shrine On Miyajima

The island's peak, Mount Misen has hiking trails and is a not too difficult hike up to the summit. I'd been to the Hiroshima Museum the day before and even though it was cold and kind of overcast I just needed to get out into the open air so I decided to head down to see the Tori Gate at Itsukushima and check out the island. I wasn't going to miss a nice walk up a mountain either!

From Tanakamachi Ward where I was staying it was super easy to get to the island. I just jumped on a tram on the main street which took me straight to the boat and then I got on the ferry. Easy as pie. Here are some Rome2Rio directions if you need it assuming of course you are staying in the same area.

​It's about a 45 min train ride and then of course you get on the little ferry over to the island but traveling anywhere in Japan is so easy and so relaxing that it goes pretty quick.

Hiking Mount Misen, Miyajima Island

​The Tori gate is something to see for sure but its the shrine and boardwalks that are really amazing. After wandering around for a while I decided to head up the mountain to visit more of the shrines and wouldn't you know it, one thing led to another and 3000 steps later I'm at the top of Mount Misen.

Such a stunning day but sadly the view was often clouded out but the walk was truly amazing. There was me and a group of 4 Korean's heading up at that time and apart from an English couple that was it. It was February and very cold but as usual I loved the quite hike. There is usually a cable car that heads up the other side of the mountain but that was closed so of course after 3000 steps to get up I was pretty stressed about getting back down. Luckily I went up the side with all the steps and to come back down it was more paths but still over 1500 stairs which of course my knee complained long and loud about. At least I came up the shady side and didn't have anywhere near as steep steps or the ice to deal with heading down. Ice wasn't super pleasant on the way up but at least you can control your slip going up, Down is a different story all together.

While it was pretty clear when I started up, it didn't last long. It was very cloudy and misty at the top so the view wasn't spectacular by the time I got to the summit, but it was almost mystical with the clouds and fog.

Where to eat lunch on Miyajima Island

I hadn't eaten before I went up the mountain so I did expect most of the little cafe's and eateries to be closed when I came down but there was a tiny ramen house still going. I was freezing by this point and didn't want to put my puffer on when I was still sweaty so it was nice to huddle in their tiny hut and eat my fill of noodles. The main promenade along the waters edge was filled with deer which was really strange to me but they were reasonably friendly and at least didn't try to bite me!

Some of the local delicacies available on the island are based around fresh oysters which I don't eat but there was plenty of people chowing down on them for sure. The other thing in plentiful suply was Momiji dumplings. It's basically a bun with a jam made from beans inside a maple shaped casing. They aren't bad but are VERY sweet! I may have eaten 2 before I realised just how sweet they were.

I wandered around some more (mostly to recover from the belly full of noodles and dumplings) and then got on the boat back to the mainland. They do light up the island after dark until about 11pm and you can do evening boat tours to see it which did look pretty amazing. I was done though and wanted to go home, shower and get warm.

Doing A Tour Of Miyajima

If you just can't be fagged working out the trains and ferry service you could do a tour. There were quite a few I saw that did Miyajima Island and the Hiroshima Museum as a day tour which would be easily doable. I would probably try and get one that does the Museum first so you can have the afternoon to recover from that.

A friend who went to Japan last year did this tour (tour company pic on the left) and was highly impressed by it.

She commented that she learned heaps and had a great time not feeling shuffled around.

Viator has more than a few options as does Get Your Guide although some of them either have challenges with the conversion to AUD or they are crazy expensive. Most are OK though.

Unfortunately I say this on the way down the mountain, almost at the bottom. Weirdly facing UP the mountain. I'm Australian, I would have been fine, but I bet it freaks plenty of people out when they are almost finished their hike!

Check out my Japan Destination Page for all the info, posts & places to visit in Japan.

Are You Visiting Japan Soon?

Consider a JR Rail Pass. Available in 7, 14 or 21 day options, you can save up to 50% on your train tickets. They do have to be ordered prior to your trip and delivered to your home country, however you can activate them on your arrival in Japan starting from a set date so if you are going to be in and around Tokyo for the first 5 days you can set your JR Rail Pass to start on day 5 when you will start traveling.