Miyajima has the distinction of being one of the official 3 most scenic places in Japan.
It’s a part of the nihon sankei, literally meaning 3 views of Japan.
This island definitely deserves a consideration as a part of your overall itinerary for Japan.
If you’ll be visiting Hiroshima, Osaka, or Kyoto, be sure to give Miyajima island a look.
First, the quick list of the must-visit places in Miyajima.
Then, a more detailed look into how you can fit ALL of these places into your one day Miyajima itinerary.
PLUS: Will you have time to visit Hiroshima and Miyajima in one day? In order to decide that, you’ll also want to know which of these things you want to see at the Hiroshima peace park.
End of 2019 note: Miyajima shrine torii gate construction
Currently there is ongoing construction on THE famous icon of Miyajima – you can’t see the red torii gate in its famous iconic state because it’s all covered. At the moment it seems that this construction may continue through the beginning of summer 2020. So if THE reason you’re going to Miyajima is because of the torii gate… you might reconsider making the trip. That said… Is the torii gate the ONLY reason to go to Miyajima?! Certainly it’s a big reason to go to Miyajima! But, what are some things you can see that don’t involve the torii gate?! Deer, the temple, high tide vs low tide at the part of the shrine you can visit, and… one of the most scenic views in Japan!
10 best things to do in Miyajima in one day
1. Coastal walk with deer sightings
2. See the floating torii not floating at low tide
3. Walk to the Torii shrine gate at low tide
4. Visit Daisho-in Temple
5. Hike the Mount Misen trail to the highest point on Miyajima island
6. Rest at Mount Misen summit
7. Eat with views at Shishiiwa ropeway station restaurant
8. Take the Mount Misen ropeway back down to sea level
9. See the floating torii shrine gate at high tide
10. Visit Itsukushima Shrine at high tide
Low tide vs high tide
The biggest thing that will determine the exact schedule you follow when you’re on the island is the Miyajima tide times.
The time of high tide and low tide will create 2 very different experiences.
High tide means that you get to see the famous iconic torii gate when it’s “floating.”
Low tide means that you can walk right on up to it!
Both can be worth it, so in an ideal itinerary, you’ll be on the island long enough for both high tide and low tide!
When I went, low tide was in the morning and high tide was in the afternoon, so this Miyajima itinerary is based on that.
So, how to put these into a one day Miyajima itinerary?
Now, here are some details about this itinerary to see if it’s something you want to follow!
Arrive at Miyajima ferry station
No matter if you make a trip to Miyajima as a day trip from Osaka or from Kyoto, or you’re staying in Hiroshima a few nights, you’ll be taking a ferry to get to Miyajima island.
When doing a day trip from Osaka or Kyoto, you’ll be going through Hiroshima. It’s possible to get from Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima to Miyajima island exclusively with your JR pass, and that includes the ferry. You just need to make sure to take the JR ferry.
To catch the ferry to Miyajima from near Hiroshima station, you’ll go from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi station. It’s from Miyajimaguchi that you can take a ferry to the island.
Here are more options on getting to Miyajima by ferry from Hiroshima. You can also catch a ferry direct to Miyajima from the Hiroshima peace park near the atomic dome, or from Hiroshima port.
Stop by the information desk
Once you get off the ferry and make it to the waiting area of the terminal, there’s an information desk.
Stop by there to get a map for a better visual of where you’re going on Miyajima island. Also tell the tourism rep there what it is you want to do, and you may get some additional helpful pointers.
There’s also a luggage storage locker at the Miyajima ferry station so you can make plans to come straight to Miyajima island from your previous destination if you want to save a little bit of time.
Okay, now you’re ready to really start exploring Miyajima island!
Coastal walk with deer sightings
Once you make it outside of the ferry terminal, you want to head right.
And your coastal walk will start right away!
Take in the views, stop for some pictures of the deer, and just keep enjoying those coastal views!
As you continue walking along the coast, you’ll pass a bunch of vending machines. If you haven’t packed water, be sure to buy some drinks to stay well hydrated!
Walk to the Torii shrine gate at low tide
While the floating torii at high tide is what has made this shrine famous, there are some reasons that visiting Miyajima at low tide can be worth it too!
It’s only at low tide that you can walk straight up to the gate.
Visit to Daisho-in Temple
Next up is starting to head towards the summit of Mount Misen, the highest point on the island.
There are a few different trails that you can take to get to Mount Misen, and you can find the start of one trail right near the Daisho-in Temple.
So taking the Daishon-in Temple hiking trail to get to the Mount Misen summit gives you a chance to visit the grounds near the temple too.
Wandering around Daisho-in Temple requires some stairs, but you’ll likely find it to be worth it.
So it might be tempting to start the Mount Misen trail right away and skip the temple, but take some extra time to walk around the temple grounds too!
If you want to be quick, you can likely do a walk-through in 15-20 minutes.
Hike the Mount Misen trail
Reaching the Mount Misen summit is one of the top things can make a visit to Miyajima island totally worth it!
There are slightly easier ways to get to the summit besides hiking, but the views just look better when you have to work for it a bit! 😉
This Mount Misen hiking trail that starts near Daishon-in Temple is mostly stone steps to the summit.
It’ll likely take you between 1.5 hours to 2 hours to reach the Mount Misen summit.
Taking the Mount Misen ropeway up and down would be the less strenuous option.
But even if you opt to take the ropeway, it won’t take you to the summit. It’ll still require around an hour of hiking round trip.
Rest at Mount Misen summit
Once you’ve reached the summit, there’s the Mount Misen observatory.
Here you can take a bit of a rest while you enjoy the views!
Bring your own water and snacks.
Once you’re ready to leave the Mount Misen obvervatory and summit, you have a couple of options to get back down to see level.
You can take the same hiking trail to get back down, or you can take a different trail for a little bit of variety. Alternatively, you can take the ropeway down.
I decided to hike up to the Mount Misen summit, and then take the ropeway back down. That meant heading to the Shishiiwa ropeway station, which is about a 20-30 minute walk from the observatory.
Eat with views at Shishiiwa ropeway station restaurant
Cost: Maybe 600 yen (US$5)
So once you are at the Shishiiwa station you can take the next ropeway that’s departing, or you can stop for a meal!
There’s a restaurant located at the ropeway station, so you can take it easy and have a meal with some of the best views in Japan!
Take the Miyajima ropeway down
Cost: 1,000 yen (US$9) one way
The ropeway departs frequently enough, maybe every 15 minutes or so, so you don’t really need to worry about planning it out too much.
There are actually 2 types of cable cars you’ll be taking. You’re in the first one for about 5 minutes, then you’ll get off at a station part way down. Then you’ll get into another cable car that will take you the rest of the way down.
In all, this journey down the mountain takes about 15 minutes.
So nearly $10 might seem a bit pricey for a 15 minute ride, but you can think of it as taking it for the views, or you can take the free way down the mountain – the hiking trail! 😉
Once you get back down to sea level, there are free shuttles that will take you about a 5 minute drive down the road to Momijidani Park.
These depart every 20 minutes or so, and if you see it when you leave the station you might as well get on and take it, but otherwise, you might as well walk!
It’ll take you 10-15 minutes to walk the distance that the shuttle will take you.
Okay, so GREAT!
Now you’ve finished up one of the absolute BEST things to do in Miyajima – seeing those views from the summit!
Next, it’s another one of the absolute BEST things to do in Miyajima…
See the floating torii shrine gate at high tide
Whether you are walking from the Momijidani Park entrance that the free shuttle dropped you off at, or you are walking from the ropeway station, it’s a nice and easy stroll to get back to seeing the torii gate.
And if you saw the torii at low tide, now it’ll seem to have a different look to it at high tide!
And to see more torii gates, be sure to visit the Fushimi Inari shrine in Kyoto where you can potentially see 5,000 torii gates!
Visit Itsukushima shrine at high tide
Cost: 300 yen (US$3)
You can also walk through the shrine too.
This is probably best done at high tide for the best scenes!
So be sure that you check the Miyajima high tide times before you go.
And there’s your perfect one day on Miyajima island!
If you follow this itinerary, there’s a good chance you’ll leave Miyajima thinking you had a great day!
Is there enough time to visit the Hiroshima peace park?
If you follow this Miyajima itinerary, you can easily stick around Miyajima island until sunset by taking it slowly with everything you do.
But you can also likely make time to have 1 or 2 hours to wander around the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Basically, after you finish up hiking Mount Misen, you just wouldn’t be taking it too slowly to get back to the ferry station.
It would be ideal if you had more time than just an hour or 2 to dedicate to the Hiroshima peace park and museum.
You can easily spend a half day or even a full day exploring everything the peace park has to offer.
But a couple of hours is better than no visit at all if you won’t be going to Hiroshima otherwise!
So in the case that you’re trying to maximize your time while you’re in the area, it would be reasonable to visit the top spots on Miyajima, followed up by a couple of hours in Hiroshima.
Just be sure to know these things before you go to Hiroshima.
How to get from Miyajima to Hiroshima peace park
When you’re trying to do Hiroshima and Miyajima in one day, try to catch the Miyajima ferry back by 3pm.
Then take the hiroden train to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. The hiroden road tram has a stop right near the atomic bomb dome memorial.
That’ll get you to the park around 4pm, leaving you a couple of hours.
Another option is to take the direct ferry to the peace park, although that’s a slightly more costly option.
The park is an open public park meaning it never closes.
There is also a museum and a hall of remembrance that are both worth visiting.
You won’t have time to appreciate both of these in full, but if you want to catch a glimpse of them, be aware of their closing times. It’s best to confirm it, but it’s probably 6pm.
HAPPY MIYAJIMA ITINERARY PLANNING!
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