Asia,  Japan,  Travel Chronicles: Summer 2023

Miyajima Day trip

Out of all the different locations around Japan, Miyajima has always been one of my favorites. I have been there 2 times, and each time, it was a great and fun place to take a day trip from Hiroshima. Miyajima truly has a perfect combination of nature, street food and traditional Japanese culture. Here is what I did during my Day trip in Miyajima in Summer 2023! This is part of my Travel Chronicles: Summer 2023 series, working in Japan as a teen travel counselor during the first 14 days (out of 53 days) in Asia.

We stayed at the Hiroshima hotel Sotetsu Fresa Inn Hiroshima Sta. which is just a 4 minute walk from Hiroshima station, and right in the city center. On top of the location being the perfect place, so close to the cable cars and the train, their breakfast was also one of the best ones thus far. Maybe it was because they had little okonomiyaki and fishcakes with torii gates on them for breakfast!

Getting to Miyajima from the city center takes about 45 minutes, and the JR pass can be used for the whole journey. It starts with boarding on the JR san-yo line from Hiroshima station for 30 minutes until Miyajimaguchi Station, just a few minute walk to get on the JR Miyajima Ferry. The ride its self is beautiful and soothing. Be sure to stay on the right side on the boat as you head to Miyajima to see the famous floating red torii getting closer to you. The ferry comes pretty regularly, with the regular schedule being every 15 minutes from 9am-4:00pm. The full timetable can be seen here.

Miyajima day trip Itsukushima Jinja Otorii
The Itsukushima Jinja Otorii seen from the ferry

As we got onto land, we were greeted by many friendly deers. I always find that the deers on Miyajima are much more friendly and less aggressive than the ones in Nara. Most of the deers in Miyajima can be found relaxing and people watching by the water.

Miyajima day trip Deers on the island
A deer relaxing on Miyajima island

In Miyajima, there are many places to shop and restaurants, souvenir shops, cafes. The island is small, but there are so many things to do! My favorite area to go to during a Miyajima day trip has to be Omotesando Shopping Street, a lively area with many souvenir shops & street-food stalls, named after Omotesando in Tokyo. It leads to Itsukushima Shrine from the port, making it impossible to miss. 

Itsukushima Shrine is a must-visit during a day trip to Miyajima. It is 300 yen for entry and provides great views of the island. It is also a great place to buy souvenirs like a good luck charm (omamori). Before you go, be sure to check out the current tides here. The great Itsukushima Jinja Otorii gate appears to float when the tide level is over 250cm, and when the tide is below 100cm, you can walk out right to the gate.

Itsukushima Shrine Miyajima day trip
Itsukushima Shrine

All over the island, there are many different souvenir shops, and Miyajima in general has a lot of traditional gift items like ceramics, souvenir snacks, and chopsticks as well. For those who love cute things, go to the Sanrio store, there are exclusive items only available in this store. There is even a Ropeway and aquarium on this island!

Miyajima is known for having many specialty foods which include fresh oysters, conger eels, and my favorite, Momiji Manju. Momiji Manju is a traditional Japanese flour-based pastry shaped like a maple leaf. The manju is traditionally made with red bean paste filling, but a lot of stores sell many varieties like custard, green tea, and chocolate. Some of the shops on Miyajima have machines by the window so that you can watch momiji manju being freshly made right in front of you!

Miyajima day trip Fried Momiji Manju
Fried Momiji Manju

During my Miyajima Day trip this summer, I tried fresh oysters from a very popular restaurant on the island, Yakigaki No Hayashi. I actually didn’t know it was famous but decided to try it after seeing a line out the store. In Japan, a good rule of thumb is that if you see local Japanese people lining up, it means its worth the wait (unless its more than a hour wait)! I got their fresh oysters and I was so surprised to see how big each one was! This restaurant is known for its high-quality grilled oysters which are grown until they are at least three years old. It was truly one of the best oysters I ever had.

Miyajima day trip Fresh oysters Yakigaki No Hayashi
Fresh Oysters from Yakigaki No Hayashi

We then headed back from Miyajima back into Hiroshima and I spent the afternoon at Hachidori-sha Social Book Cafe, which is just a 5-minute walk from the Hiroshima Peace Park, right across the river. It was such a nice and quiet place to relax, and the interior was so cozy and beautifully decorated. They have food likeThey hold weekly community events, and I would make sure to look at their calendar to make sure you are going during normal cafe operating hours.

Hachidori-sha Social Book Cafe
Hachidori-sha Social Book Cafe

We ended the day shopping having okonomiyaki at Okonomimura, a multiple-floor food hall with many different restaurants to try Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. Regular okonomiyaki, all of the ingredients are mixed together and cooked together. In Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, all of the ingredients were layered almost like a cake. We went to Sarashina on the second floor. It’s so fun watching them make it in front of us and seeing each layer being topped on. When in Hiroshima, you need to try Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki!

Okonomiyamura, Hiroshima Sarashina
Hiroshima-style Okomiyaki being made at Sarashina, Okonomiyamura
Okonomiyamura, Hiroshima
Hiroshima-style Okomiyaki at Sarashina, Okonomiyamura

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