I have now been to Miyajima too many times. Four times in fact, first in 2004 on my first visit to Japan, and then two times in 2010, one time for a school field trip and one time when I went with a visiting friend, and then one time in 2011 for a travel survey. That's quite a lot of times going to a place whose sole tourist attraction is basically the floating torii and shrine!
In this post, I will show pictures taken during my 2010 and 2011 visits.
The famous floating torii.
Miyajima is actually quite close to Hiroshima and is only around 30 minutes away by either the streetcar or JR trains. Once you reach the station closest to Miyajima, you have to take a ferry to get to the actual island where the floating torii and shrine are located. The first time that I visited Miyajima in 2004, we combined a visit to Hiroshima on a day trip from Osaka using the Japan Rail Pass.
View Miyajima, Japan in a larger map
During my 2011 visit for the travel survey, the consulting company that was paying us to do the survey told us to take the Shinkansen high speed train from our university which was located east of Hiroshima city in a place called Higashi-Hiroshima. Normally it takes 30 minutes by regular train to go to Hiroshima, but by Shinkansen, it literally took 5 minutes! Of course the cost of the regular train is 560 yen (US$6) whereas the Shinkansen cost around 2000 yen (US$20).
In 2011, I stopped by Hiroshima as per my travel survey before I went to Miyajima.
Seeing the A-Bome Dome for the nth time.
Taking the ferry to the island of Miyajima. The side opposite to Miyajima is quite nondescript.
The Seto-Inland sea which is surrounded by mountain ranges. The entire area around Hiroshima is quite mountainous.
It was quite a hot day as shown in the mugginess of the photos.
The shrine and floating torii from the ferry.
Arrival on the island. Compared to the other side, there is very few developments on the island, other than the tourist facilities, and almost no cars.
The main entrance and ferry terminal on the island side.
An overview of the island of Miyajima.
The classmates whom I went with on the 2010 field trip. Almost all of us were in the Japanese language class that Japanese Government scholarship recipients had to take before we entered our respective programmes.
Like the other city in the Kansai region famous for shrines and temples, Nara, Miyajima also had a lot of free-roaming deer.
The town is quite quite and peaceful during the times when there aren't many tourists. For some reason this place reminded me of one of the towns in the Pokemon games!
Approaching the shrine. Actually the shrine's name is the Itsukushima Shrine and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
During the 2010 visit, we came just in time for low-tide.
In my 2011 travel survey visit, I also came during low tide. But this time I could walk up to the torii.
The entrance to the shrine. Like most other shrines that are major tourist attractions, there is an admission fee. Luckily, because we were foreign students in the Hiroshima area, we were issued the "Hiroshima International Center" card which enabled us to have free access to all of the tourist attractions in the Hiroshima area while we were still enrolled as students. Therefore, we got in for free.
The shrine complex.
As the tide went back up.
The famous floating torii surrounded by water.
While we were there in 2010, a traditional Japanese wedding was being held. It was the first time that I had seen this before!
The Japanese wedding guests and one of our classmates, kawaii!
A gate at the exit side of the shrine.
Afterwards, we went to the local museum.
Models of boats used in the shrine festivals.
Model of the island.
Next, our school group decided to hike up the mountain, Mount Misen, on the island. On that day, it was really really hot and I think 30C with 100% humidity.
Near the top of Mount Misen where you can see the mountainous Seto-Inland sea in the muggy weather.
On the way back, we had to past by the local shopping arcade which sold a lot of touristy stuff like food souvenirs.
Giant spoon for scooping rice!