I had the brilliant idea of going to Miyajima during the hottest time of the day. The main attraction is outside with very little shade, but I came prepared with lots of water and sunscreen.
Miyajima is an island located a short ferry ride away from Hiroshima. The official name for the island is Itsukushima, but its Japanese nickname is Miyajima. It’s famous for the giant red torii in front of the island, Itsukushima shrine, and deer that roam freely around the island.
I didn’t know there were deer on the island. They lazed around while people tried to feed and pet them. Being from Missouri, the only time I’ve seen deer was when they pranced across the road to a safe forest in the middle of the night.
Getting to the island is pretty straightforward. If you start from Hiroshima station, just take a line to Miyajima-guchi station and walk across the street to the ferry.
There are countless shops on the way to the shrine. There were common themes: grilled oysters, deer phone charms, cookies, ice cream, fans, and anything you can print a picture of the shrine on.
The island was crowded with groups of kids on field trips, elderly couples on a day trip, and plenty of European and North American tourists lugging heavy backpacks. Even with the crowds and the heat, the shrine and torii gate definitely deserves its UNESCO World heritage Site title.
When you are on the ferry, try to get a picture of the torii gate while you can. Once you are on the island, everyone and their mom is trying to get a picture of the gate.