Hiroshima to Miyajima: One day trip itinerary

Going from Hiroshima to Miyajima for a day trip is a fantastic way to spend your time, as you’ll visit one of Japan’s most picturesque islands. Miyajima is a beautiful island close to Hiroshima, known for its big red torii gate that looks like it’s floating in the water when the tide is high.

Miyajima, a short ferry ride from Hiroshima, is a peaceful place that offers a mix of natural beauty and cultural heritage, with its well-known Itsukushima Shrine and friendly deer roaming the streets.

I recently took a day trip to Miyajima with my husband, and I’ve gathered all the essential tips and highlights to help you make the most of your journey. I want to share some tips on what to see and do in Miyajima to make your trip special. This guide aims to provide you with a practical itinerary to see the best parts of Miyajima in one day.

How to get to Miyajima from Hiroshima

There are 2 ways to get from Hiroshima to Miyajima, and they all involve crossing by ferry or high-speed boat. To make sure you make the most of your day in Miyajima, please leave for Miyajima Island no later than 9am.

Itsukushima shrine with the Great Torii as seen from the JR Ferry
Itsukushima shrine with the Great Torii as seen from the JR Ferry

Train + Ferry (most cost effective)

⏱️ 60 – 90 minutes
💴 ¥520 – 620
🎟️ Covered by: Japan Rail Pass

No matter where you’re staying in Hiroshima, head to Hiroshima Station first. Since lots of people visit Miyajima every day, trains can get crowded. To grab a seat, it’s best to start at the main station.

From Hiroshima Station, take the JR Sanyo Line to Miyajimaguchi Station. It’s about a 26-minute ride. Use your JR Pass if you have one, or buy a ticket for 420 yen.

Once you’re at Miyajimaguchi Station, it’s just a 5-minute walk to the ferry terminal.
At the terminal, you can catch either the JR Miyajima Ferry or the Matsudai Ferry to Miyajima Island. The ferry ride takes about 10 minutes.

Both ferries will get you to Miyajima in 10 minutes and charge 200 yen one way, plus the visitor fee. If you have a JR Pass, you might prefer the JR Ferry since it won’t cost you extra for the round trip.

High-Speed Boat (fastest)

⏱︎ 45 minutes
💴 ¥2200

You can take a boat (Aqua Net Hiroshima) straight from Hiroshima Peace Park to Miyajima. It’s a 45-minute trip and costs 2200 yen one way, or 4000 yen for a round trip, not including the visitor fee. Boats leave twice every hour.

There’s also a boat company (Setonaikai Kisen) from Hiroshima Port to Miyajima that takes 30 minutes and costs 2100 yen one way, without the visitor fee, and this service runs once every hour. Remember, you can’t use the Japan Rail Pass for these boat trips. If you suffer from motion sickness, do take a motion sickness pill about 30 minutes before boarding these boats.

Miyajima visitor fee

Cory and Greg on the JR Ferry approaching Miyajima from Hiroshima

Everyone going to Miyajima needs to pay a visitor fee. This new fee, which kicked in October 2023, is 100 yen (around 67 cents) for each visit. If you’re thinking of going back to Miyajima a few times, you might want to get an annual pass for 500 yen ($3.35).

The cost of your ferry ticket includes the visitor fee if you’re paying with a regular ticket or an IC card. But if you’re using a JR pass, you’ll need to buy a separate 100 yen visitor fee ticket at the ferry terminal.

Miyajima Day Trip Itinerary

You can spend the night on Miyajima island, but more visitors (myself included) take a day trip here from Hiroshima. It’s straightforward to do so, and one day is enough to see all the highlights on Miyajima island. The only reason I would recommend staying on Miyajima overnight, is if you want an authentic ryokan experience, which is something Hiroshima city doesn’t offer. Without further ado, let’s get started!

1) Miyajima Omotesandō Shopping Street

Souvenir shop on Miyajima omotesnado shopping street

From the main ferry terminal, walk for about 10 minutes towards the main shopping street. You can’t miss it, almost everyone will be headed towards it.

Miyajima Omotesandō Shopping Street is a lively area where you shop and eat. It’s full of stores selling souvenirs, local crafts and famous Hiroshima snacks. My recommendation is to bring plenty of cash with you, as smaller stalls will not accept credit cards.

Recommended treats and foods to try:

Momiji Manju – A maple leaf-shaped cake traditionally filled with sweet red bean paste. Nowadays, it comes in various fillings like custard, chocolate, and cheese, reflecting a blend of traditional and modern tastes.

Momiji manju snack from Miyajima

Miyajima Oysters – The waters around Miyajima are renowned for oyster farming. These oysters can be enjoyed raw, grilled, steamed, or fried and are known for their size, juiciness, and rich flavor. If you fancy a sit down meal, we recommend Umeyama, where we had our lunch. We ordered the fried oyster set meal which came with rice, miso and pickles.

Anago Meshi – A local delicacy consisting of grilled saltwater eel (anago) served over a bed of rice. It’s known for its tender texture and sweet-savory sauce that complements the eel perfectly.

Tsukune Nabe – A type of hot pot that includes tsukune (chicken meatballs) as a primary ingredient, along with vegetables and other items. It’s a comforting dish, especially popular during the colder months.

Age Momiji – A variation of the Momiji Manju, this treat is deep-fried, giving it a crispy outer layer while keeping the inside soft and sweet. It’s usually served on a stick and comes with flavors like cheese, oyster and roe.

Miyajima Senbei – These are Japanese rice crackers that come in various flavors, including soy sauce, seaweed, and squid. They are large, easy to eat and crispy.

Soft Serve Ice Cream – Some shops like Furaido Omotesando offer local flavors like sweet potato serve (topped with a sweet potato crisp).

Itsukushima shrine with its great floating torii

2) Itsukushima Shrine

Three main highlights of Itsukushima Shrine

⛩️ The Great Torii Gate
Hours: 24/7
Fee: Free

Itsukushima Shrine
Hours: 6:30 – 18:00 during summer; 6:30 – 17:30 during winter
Fee: ¥300

Treasure Hall
Hours: 8:00 – 17:00
Fee: ¥300

Hōkoku Shrine (Senjōkaku)
Hours: 8:30 – 16:30
Fee: ¥100

Itsukushima Shrine is one of Japan’s most iconic and revered Shinto shrines. It is considered a national treasure and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 and the number one reason to visit Miyajima, to see its floating torii gate. The stunning vermilion torii gate appears to be standing in the middle of the sea during high tide.

Itsukushima Shrine dates back to the 6th century, with the current structure primarily constructed in the 12th century under the patronage of Taira no Kiyomori, a powerful figure in Japan’s Heian period. The torii you see today is not the original. The gate, often hit by wind and floods, has been rebuilt seven times, with the last reconstruction happening in 1875.

Itsukushima shrine main hall over water surrounded by nature

Don’t worry if you don’t see the shrine at high tide (check the tide times online), as it’s just as beautiful during low tide too. You can get close to it and take up close photos with the pillars.

The staff at the shrine have noticed that some people started putting coins into the cracks of the gate. This harms the torii greatly, so please don’t do it if you visit art low tide.

The deer at Itsukushima Shrine

Sika deer around Miyajima island

The sika deer (Cervus nippon) on Miyajima Island are really friendly and walk around freely, even in the town, but primarily you’ll see them around Itsukushima Shrine. According to Shinto religion, people believe these deer are messengers from the gods, so they’re pretty special.

They’re fun to see when you’re visiting, but remember not to feed them or bother them too much, they’re still wild animals, and feeding them can make them sick or change the way they act naturally.

Toyokuni shrine with its 5 story pagoda on Miyajima island

3) Toyokuni Shrine Five-Story Pagoda

The Five-Storied Pagoda (Gojunoto) is part of the Toyokuni Shrine and is located near the Itsukushima Shrine and south side of Daiganji Temple. It’s a standout landmark on Miyajima island and one you cannot miss on your trip, as it’s visible from all angles. The pagoda, originally built in 1407 and restored in 1533, reaches a height of about 27 meters (88 feet). It’s free to admire it but you cannot enter it. It’s one of the oldest pagodas and currently known as the original 5-story pagoda in Japan.

4) Mount Misen

Mount Misen is the highest peak on Miyajima island at about 535 meters (1,755 feet) tall. The main attraction on Mount Misen is the Mount Misen Observatory on the summit, from where you can see the Seto Inland Sea and its smaller islands.

There are two ways to reach the summit: by ropeway or by hiking to the top. I will tell you about both so you can make an informed decision. I foolishly decided to hike to the top, thinking it will be a casual walk in the park. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t! On the bright side, the physical activity and the continuous climbing of all those stairs did help my knees a lot.

Ropeway to Mount Misen

Fee: 2,000 yen (round trip)
Please note, the last returning gondola is at 16:30.

Walk to Kayatani Station through the Momijidani Park. The park is named after the Japanese word for maple leaves, “momiji,” and is renowned for its picturesque scenery, especially during the autumn when the maple trees turn vibrant shades of red and orange.

Don’t fancy walking at all? There is even a free shuttle bus that takes you right to the entrance of the ropeway. I do recommend the 10-minute walk (0.1 km), as it takes you through some beautiful nature which is great for some lovely photos.

Once you are at the ropeway station, take the the Miyajima Ropeway to the Shishiiwa Station for a scenic view.

Mount Misen Trail

My husband and I love long walks and hikes, so when we found out the climb up Mount Misen was just 2.5 km, we decided to go for it.

There are three climbing routes:
Momijidani Route: 1.5 – 2 hours. This is by far the most popular and the route we decided to take.
Daishoin Route: 1.5 – 2 hours
Omoto Route: 2 – 2.5 hours

At the start of the route, we saw a sign in English warning visitors about viper snakes and wasps. As we continued, we spotted a few more signs cautioning us about wasps ahead and reminding us to be careful. Fortunately, we didn’t come across any snakes or wasps during our climb.

The trail starts pretty good, with a gentle walk surrounded by lovely Japanese nature. We honestly thought the whole trail will be like this. A couple of minutes later we came across some stone steps and thus starting our ascend.

Gorgeous Japanese nature at the beginning of Mount Misen trail

What we didn’t realise is that the whole hike to the summit was going to be just like this: climbing steps after steps, after steps. Now as you’ll see from my pictures, I was not prepared for this, I wore a skirt and some casual sneakers that day.

The climb did take 2 hours to reach the summit, but honestly, it was painful and very difficult. There were no vista points throughout the climb really and barely any rest stops along the way. I will say that if you decide to do the climb, you will need to bring a lot of water with you.

Once we got to the top it was well worth it, as the views were indeed outstanding. Having said all that, I really cannot tell you the benefits of taking the painful climbing trail over the ropeway.

View from Mount Misen summit

Needless to say, that on our back, we got the ropeway! Please note that to get the ropeway from the top, you need to buy your ticket in cash. There are no card facilities at the top of the mountain.

If you’re considering taking the ropeway up and hiking down, think again! It might seem less tiring, but the trail has some steep steps that can really strain your knees, especially since it’s 2.5 km all the way down. If you really crave the physical exercise, then going up the steps will be easier on you.

5) Hiroshima Lemons Drinks

Gebura sisters Hiroshima lemon drinks

No trip to Miyajima is complete without a quick stop at the Gebura Sister, a new bar that specialises in drinks made with Hiroshima lemons syrup. The owner told us that the syrup cannot be mass-produced which is why their drinks are so special and proudly local.

Their drinks are very affordable, with prices in the region of 700-800 yen for a cocktail. If you decide to have a refill, though, your next drink is only 200 yen! The same people operate the oyster bar 50m away called Kakiya.

6) Dinner on Miyajima

Fried oyster set on Miyajima island

Most local shops and food stalls close at 5pm on Miyajima but there are a few restaurants that are open for the evening. These are especially great if you want to enjoy some local cuisine and boost the local economy. There are two restaurants we recommend on Miyajima:

Mikotoya – Syokudo and Teishoku restaurant. (Opening times 17:00 – 20:30, closed on Mondays) Their fried oyster set is especially delicious.

Miyajima Sushi Tensen – High end “omakase nigiri”. The phrase means you will get the chef’s choice of 10-12 pieces of sushi with a small appetizer and oyster soup. Prices for dinner range from 10,000 – 17,000 yen per person. Reservation is required at least 3 days in advance. (Opening times 17:00 – 22:00, closed on Wednesdays)

7) Back to Hiroshima

Taking the evening ferry from Miyajima to Hiroshima

To get back to Hiroshima you will have the same options as coming to Miyajima.

Option 1: Take the next available ferry from Miyajima Island to Miyajimaguchi Station. Use your JR Pass to take the JR Sanyo Line from Miyajimaguchi Station to Hiroshima Station (approximately 26 minutes).

Option 2: Take a high speed boat back to Hiroshima Peace Park (Aqua Net Hiroshima) or to Hiroshima Port (Setonaikai Kisen).

Don’t fancy going back to the hotel yet? There are plenty of things to do in Hiroshima, and I’m also including a few places I recommend for dinner which I tried and tested during my stay in Hiroshima.

Lemon&OysterGarden SANGO – Oyster bar Restaurant. Expect a variety of oysters, raw and cooked as well if you prefer. Depending on when you visit, sea urchin might be in season. I especially recommend their sea urchin and salmon roe roll. I recommend booking a table in advance for this restaurant.

Nagataya – Okonomiyaki Restaurant. This restaurant got very busy in the evening, but the wait was well worth it. Make sure to sign in before taking the seat in the waiting area, as the staff will call you by number. You will want a translator app on your phone for this (like Google translate). You will be asked if you want to sit down at the counter or table. I decided for table so I can have more space for making okonomiyaki.

Ekie Dining – It’s located on the 1st floor in the Hiroshima Station. There are 24 different restaurants to pick from. There is a floor guide which shows the types of foods available. Dashi& Soba Suisha is especially great because it specialises in my favourite Japanese food: soba set meals.

Final Thoughts

Gorgeous great torii on Miyajima island at sunset

I loved our time spent on Miyajima island and appreciate how easy it is to enjoy a day trip there. I visited twice now, and I can tell you that while the tourists visiting Miyajima have now doubled, the place is just as beautiful and still worth adding to your Japan itinerary.

The main highlight for me was seeing the Great Torii at high tide, as the first time I visited I saw it at low tide. I also loved just how many more varieties of shops opened up, full of great and delicious food. I mean, food is everything in Japan, right, so getting to enjoy such vast varieties of street food was definitely a huge bonus.

I can see why Miyajima is a beautiful destination year round. I visited both in Spring and Autumn, but enjoyed the weather in the autumn a lot more. It was warmer, and the landscape was more vibrant.

If you’re thinking of visiting Miyajima from Hiroshima, please do so! You’re going to love it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do Hiroshima and Miyajima in a day?

No, it’s best to spend one full day in Hiroshima and another full day in Miyajima to really see everything. Ideally, you should plan to stay two nights in Hiroshima so you have enough time to explore both places properly.

Is Hiroshima and Miyajima worth visiting?

Yes, both Hiroshima and Miyajima are definitely worth visiting! They offer two very different experiences. Hiroshima is all about history, especially with its Peace Memorial Park and museum. Miyajima, on the other hand, has a more traditional Japanese vibe with its famous floating torii gate, amazing street food, and beautiful natural scenery.

Is it better to stay in Hiroshima or Miyajima?

It’s generally better to stay in Hiroshima because there are a lot more options for places to stay. The hotels in Hiroshima are often more modern and usually more affordable too. Miyajima has more traditional places to stay, like ryokans, but there aren’t as many and they can be pretty expensive. A good plan is to stay in Hiroshima and just visit Miyajima for a day trip.

Why is Miyajima famous?

Miyajima is famous for several reasons, but most notably for its iconic floating torii gate at Itsukushima Shrine, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gate appears to float on the water at high tide. The island also offers beautiful natural scenery, traditional temples and shrines, and friendly deer that roam freely.

Can you do Miyajima in one day?

Yes, you can visit Miyajima in one day and still see all the main highlights. This includes strolling down Omotesando Shopping Street for food and souvenirs, visiting the famous Itsukushima Shrine with its floating torii gate, and even taking a round trip to the summit of Mount Misen for stunning views. It’ll be a full day, but it’s doable if you plan your time well.

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Cory from You Could Travel entering Senso-ji in Tokyo, Japan

Cory Varga – Cory Varga is a licensed travel agent and published travel writer. Her main expertise is writing about Japan, where she happily lives with her husband.
Cory published her first book on Japanese customs and manners because she’s obsessed with everything Japan and wants to share more about the local customs with the rest of the world.
While Cory has visited hundreds of destinations and has lived in 7 different countries, Japan remains her favorite place to live and write about. Cory is multilingual.

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