Miyajima island & Itsukushima Shrine

Located in Takamatsu and travelling further north to Osaka, we planned a day excursion further south to visit Miyajima Island and the famous Itsukushima shrine floating torii gate. As the torii gate had been totally surrounded by scaffolding due to renovations for around 4 years. 

So, an early start, up for 6:00am to catch out first train at 7:08am the Marine-Liner from Takamatsu station to Okayama arriving at 8:15am, then having 10 minutes to navigate to our next platform to catch the 8:25am Hikari Shinkansen to Hiroshima station, arriving at 9:04am. The evening before in Takamatsu we had been to the train ticket office and reserved our seats for the train journeys, which were all covered by our JR Pass’s and made the whole process much easier.

Once we had arrived at Hiroshima station, for ease of moving around for the day we stored our cases in a storage locker at the station, which cost 700 yen per large locker for the day, which is about £4…these lockers have been in all the major stations we have been too and are very handy. 


Taking about 10 minutes, riding on the ferry was a nice change and the views were fantastic crossing over to the Island, as the ferry manoeuvred in such a way that you get a stunning view of the torii gate. 


We had hit lucky again with the weather, once off the ferry, with the torii gate always in sight, it was a lovely, picturesque walk along the beach promenade towards the gate.  



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Also due to the low tide they were letting people walk over the scaffold bridge that still remained and go under and around the gate up close…which of course we did. It was certainly a great experience to see the gate so closely and one I guess won’t be possible in a long time! Once the tide came back in, we managed to see the gate seemingly floating in the water! We’ll let our photos do the rest of the talking. 

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Isukushima Shrine 3

We had a fantastic day on the island, seeing the famous floating torii gate, walking around the Isukushima shrine and having an ice cream on the picturesque beach promenade…there were even loads of little dear like in Nara walking around. 


Leaving Miyajima Island was a reversal back to Hiroshima station, to then catch the shinkansen to Shin-Osaka which was our next destination on this trip. The distance from Hiroshima to Shin-Osaka is about 174 miles taking 1 hour 15 minutes traveling at times to 185 mph. To put it in perspective this is the equivalent in the UK by train traveling from Edinburgh (Waverley) to Manchester, which is 175 miles and but takes 3 hours 11 minutes!

Also, this day we had walked just over 7.3 miles.

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Once we were free of our cases! Before catching our next train, we first went to the Hiroshima train ticket office and reserved our seats for our return journey later in the day to Shin-Osaka.

Our next train was to Miyajimaguchi station, on the San’yo local main line taking 27 minutes. From Miyajimaguchi station we then had a short walk to catch the ferry over to Miyajima Island. Our JR Passes allowed us access on to the ferry without having to stand in a queue and buy ticket’s, which helped speed everything up.  The ferry was packed with Japanese tourists, with very few westerners and us being the only British. It was a Japan national holiday, and the scaffolding and covers had only recently been taken down around the torii gate…so it seemed that everyone was eager to see it once again.


The site is one of Japan’s most popular tourist spots thanks to its very famous torii gate, which at high tide appears to float on the water and is ranked as one of Japan’s best views. 

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The small island of Miyajima is less than 1 hour from Hiroshima city and is a Uneso World Heritage, officially the island is actually named Itsukushima, but the island is more universally known as Miyajima…which is said to mean ‘shrine island’, due to the island’s close relation to its main shrine, Itsukushima Shrine. The island has a long history as a holy site for Shinto, with its highest peak, Mount Misen being worshipped as early as the 6th century by the local people.

The beach promenade was bustling with people all coming to look at the same thing! The Isukushima shrine’s torii gate. The torii gate was really impressive, located in a horseshoe bay, with the Isukushima shrine set back nearer the land but still sitting above the water on columns. The tide was low and only just starting to come back in, meaning we could walk right up to the gate and get a good look…and some great photos! 

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Isukushima Shrine and it’s torii gate were built around 1168 by the then most powerful man in Japan, Taria no Kiyomori, as the clan’s family shrine. Unique in design the shrine and it’s torii gate were built over water, so to appear at high tide to float on the water.  The shine itself consists of many buildings, such as the main hall, prayer hall and theatre stage which is linked by boardwalks and supported by columns above the sea.  The shrine itself is located in a small inlet, with the torii gate being set out in the Seto Inland Sea. 

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Isukushima Shrine 6

Please find our other Kyoto articles in the 'Hiroshima' section of the website.

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Before the bomb, the area that is now the Peace Park was the political and commercial heart of the city, this was the reason why it was chosen as the pilot’s target. Four years after on the day of the bomb, it was agreed that the area would not be redeveloped but instead made and devoted to peace memorial amenities.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Every year on the anniversary of the bomb, a ceremony is held in the park. Were speeches are made, wreathes are laid out at the Cenotaph and a moment of silence is held at 8:15am. There are other activities that then occur throughout the day.

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Atomic Bomb Dome were very moving and sombre, which could be felt in the atmosphere from the fellow visitors something we will not forget.                                                                                                                                                                                              

If visiting Hiroshima Prefecture this is a must place to visit and one that should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit.  This is one place we will be visiting again hopefully.