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INSIDE: Roam the Gnome’s Guide to the 7 best things to do on a Miyajima Day Trip! 

If someone asked me to list my top ten favourite places to visit in the world, Miyajima Island near Hiroshima would be close to the top.

I don’t know what it is about this place, but it captured my heart the first time I visited at 15 years old on a school trip, and I loved it just as much when I returned 25 years later.

It really is the ultimate Hiroshima day trip, and as it’s just 30 minutes by tram from the centre of town, and a short boat trip over, you can spend the whole day immersed in the beauty of this place.

Take a look at our comprehensive guide to a day trip to Miyajima Island!  

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Miyajima Day Trip to Miyajima Island with Roamie- ROAM THE GNOME Family Travel Website. Hundreds of fun ideas to help you plan and book your next family vacation

Guide to the Ultimate Hiroshima Miyajima Day Trip 

Miyajima Island is the perfect antidote following a visit to the Hiroshima Peace Park, and the Atomic Bomb dome and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, especially after listening to  the horrific stories of survivors, and seeing the harrowing footage.

The best way to regain your equilibrium after something so distressing is to get out in nature.

Deer Island Miyajima (as it’s often nicknamed) is the perfect spot to immerse yourself in the green, despite the crowds here to see the Floating Torii, collequially called the “Red Gates” or the “Japan Gate in Water”.

miyajima island red torri gates

What is the Miyajima Torii Gate?

The Torii Gate meaning is to mark the entrance to a sacred space. 

The great Torii is “the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds.” (Source)

The first Otorii of Itsukushima Shrine (the distinctive red Torii gates at Miyajima Island) was constructed in 1168, and was built about 200 meters offshore.

The torii  remain to this day. 

Miyajima Day Trip - red torii with tide out pic

Tips for a Miyajima Island Day Trip from Hiroshima

Hot tip: Miyajima Island low tide

If the tide is out,  you can walk very close to the Torii gates. 

stairs to floating torii gates at miyajima island pic

Simply find these stairs, and follow the crowd. 

Miyajima Day Trip to miyajima island shrine - boardwalk pic

When is the best time to visit Miyajima Island?

We suggest visiting Hiroshima and Miyajima during Spring, sometime from mid March to end May, or again in Fall/Autumn, during October/November. 

The weather is mild, with blue skies, but cool enough to wander in jeans and a tshirt and not overheat.

Bring a sweater/jumper for when the sun starts to go down as it cools down considerably. 

Book now: Enjoy a tea ceremony or calligraphy lesson in Tokujuji temple on Miyajima Island while dressed in a traditional kimono! 

miyajima island deer pic

Top 5 Things to Do in Miyajima Island on a Hiroshima Day Trip

Do not miss these iconic experiences when visiting Miyajima Island for the first time. Put these on your next Japan travel itinerary.

No. 1: Say hi to the (Over) Friendly Miyajima Deer.

The Miyajima island deer love a pat.

They equally love eating. Anything. 

Do not think for one moment you can eat anything, or keep any food whatsoever, around these guys.


It’s kind of fun (funny too) at first, but then you realise their power and persistence.

My bladder almost burst laughing at the antics of my mum desperately trying to eat her ice-cream, fending off the deer who wanted a bite too!

Hot tip for those with kids:  Keep them close.

The first deers you see as you exit the ferry are friendly, but many of them stand taller than your average 5-year-old kid, and the deer’s spacial awareness is equal to that of a toddler, ie: They have none. 

Eat lunch or a snack just before you arrive so you are not hungry, and enjoy a sweet holiday treat in the main Miyajima shopping street, where there are less deer around.

Hiroshima Day Trip to Miyajima Island - eat deer sundae

No. 2: Eat a Deer Sundae

Yes, Japan is the land of cute food, and the desserts & treats available on Miyajima Island join the club. 

Who can resist a Deer Poop sundae? 

It just sounds so appealing, doesn’t it?

Hiroshima Day Trip to Miyajima Island Deer poop icecream
But seriously, do buy a Deer Sundae! 

This vanilla ice cream and chocolate snack treat is delicious. 

itsukushima shrine on miyajima island japan pic

No.3: Stroll the World Heritage Itsukushima Shrine (Miyajima Shrine)

Itsukushima Shrine has been around for 1400 years.

Built by the Shogun clan of Taira no Kiyomori to invoke prosperity for the dynasty, both the Shrine and the Torii gates are now recognised as a World Cultural Heritage property by UNESCO. 

Book Now: Take a Private Tour Rickshaw Ride to the Itsukushima Shrine 

purifying hands at itsukushima shrine pic

My mum purifying herself to enter the Shrine at the chozuya.

Wash your hands

Use the water to wash your hands (and purify yourself) before you enter. 

miyajima island walking bridge pic
That you can walk around the UNESCO world heritage recognised shrine to this day is amazing.

miyajima island giant rice paddle pic

No.4: Spy the Giant Rice Paddle Scoop

Check out the largest wooden rice scoop in the world at the Omotesando shopping street in Miyajima.

Made over a period of three years, it’s 7.7 meters long, 2.7 metres thick and weighs 2.5 tonnes and has been in place since 1996.

Read the history of the Giant Rice Paddle on Miyajima Island at Atlas Obscura

(Don’t know this website yet? You should. Pop it on your Favourites bar.)

choose your fortune at miyajima island japan pic

No.5: Choose your fortune

Pay 100 yen at the self-serve desk and choose your fortune.

It’s a bit of guess work as it’s written in Japanese, but if you have a friend, or can ask a local, you can find out what it says. 

miyajima day trip - omikuji papers japan pic

Tie the Omikuji papers on the poles or branches of the shrine after reading, or take them with you.

omikuji papers at miyajima shrine japan
You can read more about this tradition here.

miyajima ropeway by redlegsfan21

Image credit: Redlegsfan21 via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

MORE Things to Do on Miyajima Island Japan

No.6: Miyajima Ropeway

You can also plan a visit to the Miyajima Ropeway to see the beauty of Miyajima and the holy mountain known as Mt. Misen from the sky.

Mt Misan is the highest peak on Miyajima at 535 meters above sea level.

Click the blue link for details on how to get to Miyajima Ropeway from Itsukushima Shrine

see the five story pagoda on a miyajima day trip to the island japan pic

No.7: Try a Traditional Onsen Miyajima Island style.

Head to Miyajima Island at high tide and you’ll be battling horrendous crowds, but plan your visit for low tide (or hang around long enough), and Miyajima Island becomes a somewhat sleepy little place.

Add this plan to your Miyajima itinerary. 

PIN 1 miyajima island 800

Best Miyajima Ryokan Options

Where to stay at Miyajima Island with Onsen

It’s even better if  you can arrange an overnight stay at one of their quaint “ryokans” – traditional style Japanese accommodation with futon beds on the floor.

Some ryokans on Miyajima Island have onsen spas for guests.

At Iwaso Ryokan, it’s possible you’ll even see a deer or two from your vantage point in their elegant timber-surrounds open air spa!   

Kurayado Iroha Traditional Japanese hotel has an ion-infused bath on the 5th floor where you can soak in silky waters, AND an open-air roof top spa too! (This is the best ryokan in Miyajima for this reason)

Staying for longer means you can wander by and take a close up look at the five-storied pagoda, an important national and cultural asset of Japan.

miyajima island pathway

More Miyajima Island Accommodation options

Miyajima Island Accommodation is limited obviously, as it’s a small place, but you can check out the other Miyajima Island hotels here.

miyajima day trip tide out

Gauge the Miyajima Tide

Miyajima High Tide

During high tide of more than 250cm, the giant red Torii gate looks like it is floating on the sea. 

For a once in a lifetime experience, you can go Sea Kayaking with Paddle Park underneath the giant Torii gates at high tide!

Miyajima Low Tide

When low tide with a tide level of under 100cm, you can walk to the foot of the great Torii.

Check Miyajima tide times here.

miyajima island japan rail pass free sign pic

Take the Miyajima Ferry to Miyajima Japan & the Floating Torii Gate

Take note.

There are two competing ferry companies operating from the Miyajima ferry port: JR and Matsudai.

miyajima island JR ferry boat

Japan Rail Pass is valid on JR Miyajima ferry boats only.

Do not make the mistake we did, and catch the wrong one, as then you’ll have to pay again.

When you exit the train/tram from Hiroshima City, head to the RIGHT and find the building (pictured above). 

miyajima island ticket office pic

JR Ferry Terminal to Miyajima Island

Look for this counter. 

You’ll see the JAPAN RAIL PASS sign in the window.

If it’s not there, you’ve gone to the wrong boat. 

miyajima island ferry entrance - not free one

Matsudai ferry terminal

If you walk to the left, you’ll end up at the Matsudai ferry terminal, pictured above.

They don’t honor the Japan rail pass, and you’ll need to buy a ferry ticket for the journey. 

miyajima island ferry pic 800

Fast Miyajima Ferry Rides

Both Miyajima ferry rides take 10 minutes.

Regardless of which ferry you catch, both cost 180 yen per person one way.

hiroshima day trip to miyajima island view of red torii gates from shrine pic

7 Fun Facts you probably didn’t know about the “Red Gates Japan”

With thanks to Visit Miyajima 

  1. The base of the great Torii is not buried deep in the seabed, but stands by its own weight. It stands on 6 pillars, and both the main pillars and the small pillars make it secure.
  2. The box-shaped upper part of the great Torii is filled with about 7 tons of stones, each as big as a human fist.
  3. Custom made wedges are driven into the intersections where the pillars and roof meet, absorbing slight movements and helping to balance the pillars and the roof.
  4. The sea level section is strengthened by pine stakes, and an alternative foundation is made of stones.
  5. The vermillion color of the shrine and of the O-torii is considered to keep evil spirits away. As for Itsukushima Shrine, the shrine buildings are coated with vermilion lacquer, which is also efficient as protection from corrosion.
  6. The Shrine was designated as a Specially Preserved Building on April 5, 1899.
  7. Miyajimi Torii Gates were designated as a National Important Cultural Property on December 26, 1963.

miyajima island pic

THE INSIDE SCOOP: Miyajima Island with Kids, Family and Friends

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in Japanese yen, unless otherwise stated

Miyajima Ferry Prices

It’s a short stroll from Miyajimaguchi Station to the ferry pier.

If you do have to buy ferry tickets, the cost is 180 yen for adults and 90 yen for children, one way.

miyajima island ferry tickets pic

Find a machine like this at the ferry terminal building, add your coins and wait for the ticket to drop.

Get up to date info on Miyajima Ferry prices here.

miyajima island timetable pic

Miyajima Ferry Timetable

Ferries depart frequently, as you can see by the board above. There’s no need to prebook.

Get up to date info on the JR Miyajima ferry timetable here.

miyajima tram pic

How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima on your Miyajima Day Trip

Hiroshima to Miyajima is an easy trip taking less than an hour total. 

By JR train(Sanyo Trunk Line).

  • Catch the train from Hiroshima Station to Miyajima Station (Miyajimaguchi station is the name).
  • Route takes 23 minutes by rapid train; 27 minutes by local train.  Walk 5 minutes to the Miyajima-guchi pier. Catch the ferry to Miyajima Island – approximately ten minutes. 
  • This is covered by your Japan Rail Pass if you have one. If not, it’s currently 410 yen one way.

By Tram Line 2

You can also catch Tram Line number 2 from central Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi station.

This electric railway service runs every 9 minutes69 minutes from Hiroshima Station (280 yen) 52 minutes from the A-Bomb Dome (280 yen). 

Click this link for day passes and discount fares combining tram/ferry.

Miyajima Map

hiroshima-day-trip-to-miyajima-island-ferry-terminal 800

Miyajima Events

Keep an eye on the Miyajima Facebook page for upcoming events.

miyajima island waterways pic

Toadstool Rating for Hiroshima Day Trip to Miyajima Island 

Miyajima Island is one of our top places to visit in Japan. Don’t miss it. 

miyajima island tour REVIEW

Looking for more Super Fun Things to Do in Hiroshima with Kids?

Click the blue links below for more Hiroshima attractions. 

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