"Miyajima is simply magical; my favourite place in all of Japan. Day-trip here if time is short, but for the real experience stay for a night or two and let the island enchant you!"
Harry Sargant - Tailored Department Manager
The beautiful Miyajima is a tiny island set in the tranquil Inland Sea, just off the coast of Hiroshima. This peaceful island is home to the venerable shrine of Itsukushima, famous for its huge vermilion gate, or torii, which rises majestically out of the sea. At high tide, with the sun setting, the red gates of Itsukushima are justly considered to be one of the most beautiful sights in Japan. The handful of streets around the shrine form the island’s only real settlement and sacred deer roam freely around the shrine area, giving Miyajima a wonderfully relaxed, rural atmosphere, a real breath of fresh air if you have been tramping between the sights in the big cities.
The laidback feel of the island is enhanced in the evenings when the day trippers head back to the mainland, the town shuts for the night and you head back to your Japanese ryokan. Once you’ve had your traditional Japanese dinner, you can stroll down to the shoreline wearing your Yukata (cotton kimono) and Geta (wooden sandals) to view the illuminated torii gate and stone lanterns – particularly atmospheric after dark.
Since ancient times, Miyajima has been revered and worshipped. The island’s virgin forests are among the finest of the Inland Sea. From the famous shrine on the shore the forested hills rise sharply forming the central peak of the island, Mt Misen. The peak can be reached by hiking trail (or cable-car!) and offers spectacular panoramic views over the island and across the Inland Sea. On your way up the mountain you may also spot some of Miyajima’s wild monkey population.
Miyajima also has a couple of attractive temples, some small beaches in summer and a lovely ramshackle old shopping street. However the magic of Miyajima is not be found by dashing around the island, ticking off sights. Find somewhere near the shrine to take the weight off your feet, relax, watch the boats come in, the tide go out and the sun sink slowly in the sky. Time passes slowly on Miyajima, but enjoy it; you won’t want to leave!