Miyajima, the Island of Gods

There is an island where you can feel in the middle point between the heaven and the underworld, a place that you can only reach by boat and where the shrines seem to float on water. A World Heritage Site, along with the virgin forest of Mount Misen and numerous preserved shrines, monuments and historical sites makes you realize you are in a unique place in the planet. The perfect harmony between human beings, nature and spirituality that Japanese people usually do so well can be felt in every corner of this island, Miyajima Island, the Island of Gods.

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From the boat we saw the floating Tori while approaching the island.

7 am in Osaka. 28ºC. 90% humidity. It was August in Japan and we just needed to breath to feel the first sweet drop in our heads. We bought two cold coffees with milk in one small store while going towards the Shin-Osaka train station. We took there the Shinkansen, the high speed train in Japan, towards the west. In less than one and a half hours we were in Hiroshima, where we took a regional train towards the peer in Miyajimaguchi. From this small town departs the boat towards the Island.

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Samurai whatching over

The first thing we did was to go to the Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage Site, that looks like it is floating when high tide. It is also considered a national treasure. Around the shrine you will find many deer walking among tourists and peddlers. If you are lucky you can even touch them!

Once inside the shrine we enjoyed every step we did on the tatami. You can hear the crunches of the old wood and the smell of the incense through the open corridors and rooms. And then we saw the queue, a very well organized queue waiting for the best postcard of Miyajima.

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Long queue for the best picture

After visiting the floating shrine we went for lunch in the streets of the old town of Miyajima: chips and fried chicken under the shadow of a tree while looking to the Japanese children chasing deer.

And then, maybe in the worst moment of the day because of the heat, we decided to go to the highest point of the Island at the top of Mount Misen. In our way to the cable car we had time to see the five-story Pagoda.

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Five-story Pagoda

In order to reach the top of Mount Misen it is necessary to take one cable car and then hike for 45 minutes. Although it can be steep at some points, just for the views it is worth it. But it is also important to reach the top to see the always-burning fire.

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Cable car to the Mount Misen

Then, through the virgin forest of Mount Misen and stopping every five minutes to take photos of the views we walked towards the top.

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View of the Seto Sea from Mount Misen

Ok, I admit it. We also stopped every five minutes to drink water. At this point, do you remember our post about our experience in Koyasan? That place where we walked through the largest Japan cemetery and where Kobo Daishi has its mausoleum? Kobo Daishi was the man that spread the Buddhism through Japan and here we could find the Kiezu-no-hi (The Eternal Flame) that he fired. It is burning since 806. It is said that the holy water boiled by this fire works for all sorts of disease.

And just after the Holy Flame in this small shrine in the Mount Misen, passing through a cave, we reached the top!

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Towards the top!

The water bottle was empty and we were thirsty and sweaty. But happy! We were at the top of the Island of Gods in the middle of the Seto Sea with 360º views.

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Views from the top of Mount Misen

After this hike we already had time to visit one more shrine in the island and then we took the ferry back. We also spent some hours in Hiroshima, visiting the Bomb site and just having silence to remember those who lost their lives there in the World War II… It is really a place to sit down and wait till the sun has gone.

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Bomb site

And finally, just before taking the Shinkansen back to Osaka, we enjoyed a fantastic dinner of typical Japanese food in Hiroshima. There we ate maybe the second best sushi of our trip to Japan. The number one will be in a future post when we will explain you our story among fishes in the biggest fish market in the world in Tokyo!

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The sushi we ate
Two Traveling Texans

23 thoughts on “Miyajima, the Island of Gods”

  1. Wow those views! You really have to work for it, but it does look worth it. I also love the floating temple and the pagoda. Definitely an area I would love to see next time I am in Japan. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  2. “The Island of Gods” indeed. With such views, no wonder they gave it this name. I hope I can see it someday. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  3. SO interesting! OK, the line for waiting for the picture is absurd, but at least people are nice enough to form a line! That humidity would kill me, but I need to go back to Japan so I can see where I was born! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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    1. You were born in Japan! So, you are japanese? 🙂 Japanese people are very nice and they know how to behave in every crowded situation. There are queues in many places there for many situations that we are not used to.

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  4. This place is a dream trip of mine. While growing up, my mom had framed pictures of the gate on the living room (don’t ask me why). I thought the place was not real until I grew up. Would love to see the image of the place I saw so many times as a kid. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your comment. Japan is an incredible country. We fell in love and I am sure we’ll come back. We have many posts about Japan that are going to come in the future. I invite you to follow us to not loose any of our experiences in Japan 🙂

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  5. Japan is high on our Travel Bucket List, and Miyajima is near the top of our Must See list when we get there. So much history and scenery – we are really looking forward to it. Your photos, and the climb up Mt. Misen have made us want to go even more! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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    1. This is fantastic. Japan is so different from the rest of the world… I think it is one of those places that you must go at least once in your lifetime. If you need any tips of recommendations don’t hesitate to contact us when you plan your trip to Japan! Thanks for your comment 😊

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