Generally a trip to Miyajima and Hiroshima go hand in hand. Hiroshima is located quite near from Kyoto and Osaka. So often these 4 destinations are clubbed together.
Miyajima is a small island. In order to reach Miyajima you first need to need to take a train from Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi and then you need to board a ferry to Miyajima.
Ferry pier is a short walk from Miyajimaguchi station and ferry ride is hardly 10 minutes once you board the ferry.
While planning the trip most important part is how much time to spend in Miyajima/Hiroshima and where to stay overnight if you are spending more than a day. In my view 2 days are sufficient for Miyajima/Hiroshima and overnight stay should be in Hiroshima rather than Miyajima. During my trip i spent 2 days and i stayed overnight in Miyajima but i will not recommend that. Staying in Miyajima is more expensive and whole town, i mean everything, all shops close by 9 or so, and there is nothing to do. I was suggested by people to stay at Miyajima so that i don’t have to rush in the evening to catch the last ferry but the fact is that by the time last ferry leaves it’s already quite dark.
When you arrive at Miyajima, the first thing you see from ferry is the Tori gate which is the entrance to Itsukushima shrine. Tori gate looks like a floating gate during full tide and during low tide you can near to it both views are worth watching.
When you reach Miyajima, you will notice lots of deer walking around and they can be aggressive, so keep little distance but they provide you lots of opportunity to click photos.
When i reached Miyajima, it was high tide and low tide was schedule late in night and then in morning. After watching Tori gate and keeping my bag in Hotel, i headed to Hiroshima.
There is not a lot to see in Hiroshima. I wanted to check out Atomic Bomb Dome, Peace memorial, Ground Zero. Also i wanted to try out the dish Okonomiyaki. If you have JR pass then you can board a loop bus which starts from Hiroshima station and takes you to major attractions in Hiroshima. Ground Zero is the place located immediately below the exploding bomb but it is just so hard to locate hidden between buildings, i had a tough time locating it.
Next it was time to check out Okonomiyaki. You will find lots of shops at Okonomimura in Hiroshima Downtown. Well i entered a shop and ordered a variety of Okonomiyaki but i found it tough to eat with chopsticks, i needed more practice!! It was good in taste.
I boarded the last ferry from Hiroshima to Miyajima for my overnight stay. As i reached Miyajima, it was low tide and i was able to walk across upto Tori gate. It was nice to get a view of it in night however it was not something i would stay overnight at Miyajima for.
Second day morning, my plan was to quickly cover a nearby temple, hike Mount Misen and then board my train to Kyoto. There are 3 hiking trails and i choose Momijidani trail as it goes via Momijidani Koen park which has beautiful autumn colours. I follow a fitness regime and expected this hike to be a cake walk but it was not, it is a very steep hike with lots of stairs. Please carry some water and proper hiking shoes if you want to go for it. If you don’t want to hike then there is also a ropeway to reach mountain top but there is a climb of about 700 meters after ropeway as well. All my plan went haywire with this hike, i missed my train as i underestimated the hike and had to travel in an unreserved chair car of Shinkasen …. but i loved it :)). Once you reach top of Mt. Misen you will feel that it was worth a hike as it gives you beautiful views. While coming down i choose Daishoin trail but coming down was quite easy and fast. If you have some time at hand and love to hike then definitely go for it.
It was a good hike, challenging but loved it.
I picked up my stuff from hotel and it was time to say goodbye to Miyajima. It’s a small and quiet place with nice people and worth visiting.