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Hiroshima to Miyajima Day Trip Itinerary for Solo Travellers

One of the best day trips you can take from Hiroshima is Miyajima Island. The island is officially named Itsukushima but many visitors know of the island because of Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate, a giant Torii gate which appears to be floating in the water.

When you spend a day in Miyajima, not only will you see the iconic Torii gate during high tide and low tide, you will also see Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, other historical temples and sample delicious local food. Moreover, there’s an opportunity to go up to the top of Mount Misen and see panoramic views of the Seto Inland Sea.

Keep reading and follow my Miyajima one-day itinerary so you can explore the island efficiently on your own.

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What you need to know before taking a day trip to Miyajima Island

Before going on your Miyajima day trip, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Japan. I included a lot of information, including how to get around Japan and other travel tips.

Here are additional travel tips that you may find helpful in spending a day in Miyajima:

  • ICOCA is the prepaid IC card for Hiroshima Prefecture. It is a rechargeable smart card for public transportation, including buses and trains. You can use it for the train or streetcar from Hiroshima to Miyajima and the JR West Miyajima Ferry.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes for a full day of walking. If you are hiking up to Mount Misen, consider wearing light hiking shoes, as specific paths are a bit rugged.
  • Staying overnight in Miyajima is not necessary. But if you want to stay in a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn with tatami-matted rooms), there are a few options on the small island.
  • Plan your visit with the following festivals and events in Miyajima:
    • Miyajima Oyster Festival (February) – sample oysters from the Seto Inland Sea during this annual event.
    • Kiyomori Festival (late March) – see the annual medieval parade on Miyajima.
    • Cherry Blossom season (late March to early April) – see pink cherry blossom flowers covering Momijidani Park.
    • Fall Foliage (November) – see over 200 beautiful maple trees along the Momijidani River.

How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima

Travelling from Hiroshima to Miyajima as a solo independent traveller is very easy. First, take the local train or streetcar to Miyajimaguchi Port and then catch one of the ferries to the island.

From Hiroshima to Miyajima Island

Train or Streetcar

Choose one of the two transportation modes from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi Port:

  • Train: the rapid train on the JR San-yo Line Train from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station takes 19 minutes and costs ¥420.
  • Streetcar: the scenic streetcar #2 from Hiroshima Station to Hiroden-Miyajimaguchi Station takes longer (75 minutes) but costs ¥270.

Ferry

Two ferries travel from Miyajimaguchi Port to Itsukushima Ferry Terminal. JR West Miyajima Ferry and Miyajima Matsudai Ferry take 10 minutes (every 15 minutes from 6:25am-10:42pm) and cost ¥200.

If you have a JR Pass or Hiroshima Tourist Pass, you can ride the JR West Miyajima Ferry for free. But you must pay ¥100 Miyajima Visitor Tax at the vending machine before you get on the ferry.

Hiroshima to Miyajima Day Trip itinerary: Summary & Map

The day trip itinerary for Miyajima explores the island’s northern part and continues via a clockwise loop up Mount Misen via the Momijidani Route and down the Daishoin Route. Here is a quick summary of the Miyajima Day Trip Itinerary:

  1. Omotesando Shopping Street
  2. Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate at high tide
  3. Senjokaku Pavilion
  4. Lunch: Anago Meshi or Miyajima Oysters
  5. Miyajima Ropeway 
  6. Mount Misen Climbing Course
  7. Mount Misen
  8. Daishoin Temple
  9. Daigan-ji Temple
  10. Itsukushima Shrine
  11. Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate at low tide 
  12. Machiya Street
  13. Souvenirs at Omotesando Shopping Street

I pinned all the top things to do on Miyajima Island on the interactive map below. Follow the red numbered pins to find all the must-see Miyajima attractions during your day trip.

Best things to do in Miyajima Island: 1-Day Itinerary

1. Omotesando Shopping Street

First, walk over to Omotesando Shopping Street, a 350-metre-long street that starts near the ferry terminal and stretches to Itsukushima Shrine.

Many souvenir shops, cafes, and restaurants serving local Miyajima cuisine are here. Plus, there are also many food stalls selling grilled oysters and other treats if you want a snack.

2. Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate at high tide

Most travellers visit Miyajima because of the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate, which appears floating on the water. And I have to agree; the giant Torii gate is spectacular.

The Torii Gate was first built in 1168 and has been reconstructed many times. Standing at 16.6 meters tall, the vermillion-coloured torii gate weighs over 60 tons. It is said that the Torii gate is the boundary between the spirit and human worlds.

During the morning, the high tide covers the base of the torii gate. But by late afternoon, the water recedes, and you can walk up to it. Take a look at the Torii gate in the morning while it is submerged in water and return later for a different view.

Wild deer roam Miyajima island, and many like to hang out at this scenic spot. You might see one or two here.

3. Senjokaku Pavilion

Walk up a flight of stairs and see two attractions at the top of the hill.

The first is the Five-Storied Pagoda, a vermillion-coloured pagoda built in 1407 and an important cultural property.

The highlight is the Senjokaku Pavilion next to the pagoda. It was initially constructed as a Buddhist library, but construction halted and remained unfinished. Today, the large shrine (the size of one thousand tatami mats) has an open plan and many ancient paintings hanging from the ceiling.

Plus, several giant shakushi (traditional Japanese wood rice scoops) are placed around the pavilion. The wooden rice scoop is considered to be a symbol of Miyajima.

Address: 1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima | Hours: 8:30am-4:30pm | Admission: ¥100

4. Lunch: Anago Meshi or Miyajima Oysters

Before your afternoon excursion up the mountain, have an early lunch and try some of the best local food. Many restaurants are along Omotesando Shopping Street, and a few are close to Itsukushima Shrine.

I highly recommend trying Anago Meshi (grilled conger eel smoked over a charcoal grill) and/or Miyajima Oysters.

The first time I went to Miyajima, I had Anago Meshi at Shibaisaryo Mizhua, a 300-year-old restaurant that started as a teahouse. It serves eel and other yummy set lunches.

When I returned to Miyajima many years later, I tried Miyajima Oysters at Kakiya. The set meal features seven different oyster dishes. They were so good!

5 or 6. Miyajima Ropeway or Mount Misen Climbing Course

Wander over to Momijidani Park, which is at the base of Mount Misen, and decide how you want to get up the mountain.

There are two ways to reach the highest peak: Miyajima Ropeway or Mount Misen Climbing Course.

The Miyajima Ropeway (¥1,100 one-way or ¥2,000 return, 15 minutes) begins at Momijidani Station and takes you to Shishiiwa Station. From there, hike another 10 minutes to the top.

Alternatively, the Mount Misen Climbing Course will lead you to the summit. Just follow the signs in Momijidani Park, where the road splits off to the ropeway or the climbing course.

FYI – There are three hiking routes in Mount Misen: Momijidani Route is the shortest, Daishoin Route is the most strenuous, and Omoto Route is the longest (3.2km, about 2 hours).

The most popular route is to ascend the Momijidani Route for 45 minutes, visit all the attractions at the summit and descend the Daishoin Route towards Daishoin Temple, which I suggest for my Miyajima one-day itinerary.

7. Mount Misen

Legend has it that Mount Misen was used for religious practices 1200 years ago, and the mountain has many holy spots where people visit and pray.

Near the top, Misenhondo Hall has a statue of Akasagarbha bodhisattva, the god of wisdom and well-being. And Reikado Hall is near where you will find Kiezu-no-hi, the eternal flame burning for 1200 years. The source of fire came from the Flame of Peace at Hiroshima‘s Peace Memorial Park.

Walking further up the summit at 535 meters, you will walk through the natural rock arch called Kuguriiwa Rock. And the Shishi-wa Observation Deck is at the top, where you can relax and see unobstructed views of the Seto Inland Sea.

8. Daishoin Temple

From Mount Misen, take the Daishoin Route towards Daishoin Temple, one of the most important temples of Shingon Buddhism. It has several buildings, including Kannon-do Hall and Maiden Hall, and many preserved historical relics.

One of the temple’s unique features is the stairs at the entrance. As you walk up the stairs, you can practice a Buddhist ritual in which you spin the metal wheels on the railing. It is said that spinning the metal wheels is the same as reading the inscriptions on the wheels.

Moreover, various Buddhist statues in different forms were found all over the temple grounds. Some of the sculptures are quite whimsical.

Address: 210 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima | Hours: 8am-5pm | Admission: free

9. Daigan-ji Temple

There are a few things to see after you descend Mount Misen. But if you are tired from all the hiking, at least check out Daigan-ji Temple, a traditional temple from the 1200s with statues of Buddha and goddess Benzaiten.

If you have time, visit Miyajima History and Folklore Museum (9am-5pm; closed Mondays; ¥300), learn about the island’s history, and see a wide range of artifacts and artworks featuring life on Miyajima.

There are also some shops and cafes next to the stream. And more Miyajima deer!

When you are ready to move on, take a scenic walk around the coast towards Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate.

Address: 3 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima | Hours: 8:30am-5pm | Admission: free

10. Itsukushima Shrine

Most visitors go straight to Itsukushima Shrine when they get off the ferry. But this is the busiest time to visit the iconic shrine, so I suggest visiting it at the end of the day.

The shrine itself actually has many shrines connected by corridors and appears to be floating in the water (in the morning). This UNESCO World Heritage Site was built more than 1400 years ago, and regular maintenance and remodelling are required due to harsh weather conditions.

When you enter the premises, walk through various vermillion-coloured lacquer temples through a series of connected corridors. Look for Marado Shrine, the most prominent auxiliary shrine within the complex, and the Purification Hall, where monthly performances and ceremonies are held.

Don’t forget to photograph the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate at Hitasaki, the spot closest to the iconic Torii gate.

Address: 1-1 Miyajimacho, Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima | Hours: 6:30am-6pm | Admission: ¥300

11. Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate at low tide

The tide levels vary each day. Generally, high tide is in the morning, and low tide is in the afternoon. The exact timing of the tides is posted at the entrance gate of Itsukushima Shrine.

But honestly, the exact timing does not matter. After you visit Itsukushima Shrine, walk towards the giant Torii gate and see it up close and personal. And maybe you can even catch a fantastic sunset there.

12. Machiya Street

On the way back to Omotesando Shopping Street, take the longer route and walk across Machiya Street. It was once the main street of Miyajima, and it still has a few souvenir shops and retro cafes. But this nostalgic street is charming, especially when the lanterns are lit at night.

You can access Machiya Street from a small path next to the Five-Storied Pagoda you saw earlier.

13. Souvenirs at Omotesando Shopping Street

On your way back to Itsukushima Ferry Terminal, pick up souvenirs on Omotesando Shopping Street. Look for Miyajima souvenirs like Momiji Manju, a small cake shaped like a Japanese maple leaf with different fillings, such as red bean paste, matcha, chocolate, custard, and more. Momijido Nibanya sells a deep-fried version. Yamadaya Sweets Shop sells mini maple cakes with or without soft-serve ice cream.

If you want a unique souvenir, buy a decorative shakushi with wishes for prosperity and safety written on it. They are considered good luck charms.

When you are ready to leave Miyajima, take one of the ferries back to Miyajimaguchi Port. The last ferry leaves at 10:14pm.

Miyajima itinerary: hiking Mount Misen Climbing Course in the opposite direction

It is possible to hike up Mount Misen in a counterclockwise loop, i.e. hike up the Daishoin Route and descend the Momijidani Route.

Although I haven’t done it myself, I wouldn’t recommend doing it the opposite way because the scenery down the Daishoin Route is quite lovely, so if you hike up this trail, you will miss the view (unless you consistently turn around).

Also, the path up the Momijidani Route is quite rugged. I always think ascending the mountain is easier because you can lean forward and catch yourself when you fall. But if you descend a rugged path, it is easier to slip and fall (and because I am clumsy, I would much rather hike up a more challenging route than come down).

Are you going on a day trip to Miyajima from Hiroshima?

Miyajima Island has many things to do and many things to see. But the best part about visiting Miyajima Island is experiencing rural Japan, enjoying the outdoors and seeing famous monuments. And you can see everything in Miyajima in one day!

My day trip to Miyajima was one of the most memorable moments during my solo trip across Japan. I hope you will visit this beautiful island when you travel to Hiroshima.

Thank you for reading my Miyajima day trip itinerary

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Japan:

Introduction to Japan

Chugoku region

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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