Miyajima Island

The island of Miyajima is famous for its Buddhist holy sites and its friendly, free roaming deer. Officially titled Itsukushima, the name Miyajima, which literally translates to "shrine island", was popularized because the island is part of a district called Miyajima in Hatsukaichi City. The most famous shrine on the island is Itsukushima Jinja, built on pillars directly on the shore facing the mainland. During high tide, sea water runs in underneath the buildings. During low tide, visitors can walk out to its giant torii gate out in the ocean. The island is accessible via ferry from Miyajimaguchi Station. The ride takes about 10 minutes and boats run every 15 minutes in both directions. JR Pass holders will be happy to know that one of the two available ferry services is run by JR and covered by the pass. Miyajima is known for momiji manju -- sweet, stuffed cake buns in the shape of a maple leaf. They are available in various styles, from steamed to deep-fried. If you are planning on taking momiji manju home as a souvenir, we strongly recommend you buy them shortly before you leave the island, as the deer are quite fond of them and actually will try to steal them from you.

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