After a couple months of having to spend all my extra money on furniture and my car, I was finally able to do a little traveling around Japan and start to explore all the amazing places this country has to offer. This is the first in my series exploring Japan’s islands.
First stop: Miyajima Island in Hiroshima Prefecture!
(Fun fact – Miyajima just means ‘shrine island’ and the island is referred to as that because of the famous giant orange torii gate located there. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and super famous both in Japan and around the world. But the real name for this island is Itsukushima! The more you know… *shooting star*)
Y’all know I’m an island girl at heart. I was born on an island and it’s in my blood. While I’m pretty happy to be living on one of Japan’s islands (the smallest of the four main islands), I jumped at the chance to visit another one – not only knocking a new prefecture off my list (9 down, 38 to go!) but getting to see a super cute island to boot.
How To Get There
Getting to Miyajima requires a ferry ride from the port in Miyajima-guchi (Miyajima neighborhood in Hiroshima City). There’s all kinds of trains that go to Miyajima-guchi Station, and when you step out of the station, the ferry port is directly in front of you only a few hundred metres away. There’s huge signage and in this area most signs are in English and Japanese so it’s very easy to navigate. You need to buy a ticket to get on the ferry. I don’t understand why people don’t buy return tickets unless they’re staying overnight…there always seemed to be a massive lineup to buy tickets to get back. The tickets are pretty cheap. I paid Y360 round trip (about US $3.60 at the time of writing). The ferry ride takes less than 20 minutes and there is indoor and outdoor seating. Get in line ahead of the huge school groups if you want to sit down. I sat outside both ways to escape the hoardes of kids and also they had the heater on inside at approximately seven thousand degrees.
What To Do
Miyajima is famous for a lot of things for being such a small island. Here is a partial list from what I observed:
1) Maple trees
2) Maple trees changing color in fall
3) Some kind of fish cake thing
4) Deep fried momiji (pancake-like sweets filled with custard or cheese, shaped like a maple leaf and then deep fried on a stick. Can confirm custard one is delicious)
5) Mainly lots of food on sticks
6) Grilled oysters
7) Asshole deer walking around eating trash and harassing people DO NOT FEED THE DEER FOR FUCKS SAKE PEOPLE
8) Giant rice paddle (WTF)
9) Temples galore
10) Some type of special sake and soy sauce
11) Giant fucking orange shrine in the ocean
Mostly you just walk around and look at all the stuff I listed and eat the stuff I listed. Now if you know me, you know I’m allllllll about walking around and eating. So obviously I had a fantastic time here.
Hazards include avoiding giant hordes of Chinese and Korean tour groups, and hundreds of school children on school trips. Also watch out for the asshole deer. And be aware as a foreigner to give lots of space to Japanese people. They will go out of their way to not be anywhere near you. (Case in point: while crossing some rocks in the receding tide, an old Japanese lady stepped off a rock INTO THE OCEAN just to avoid passing me on a rock. Soaked her shoes and socks. I’m sorry but if you want to avoid a foreigner at an international tourist site that badly, you deserve to walk around in wet socks and shoes for the rest of the day.) Enjoy your space, it’s a luxury here.
Please enjoy my iPhone documentary of the above list:
So, that was my trip to Miyajima Island! I spent a great day here and highly recommend this trip to anyone visiting this area of Japan. And you can check a UNESCO World Heritage Site off your list! What do you think? Would you visit?
I’m really enjoying your Island of Japan series! I cannot wait to travel to Japan soon, definitely going back to your blog for references! Thanks Rika!
Thanks Therie! Japan is a really amazing place to travel. Due to the north-south orientation of the country, you can go from arctic-like conditions up north by Russia to tropical waters near Taiwan and the Philippines, all in one country!