An Afternoon on Miyajima Island- Shrine Island of Japan


Miyajima Island, also known as Shrine Island (or Island of the Gods), is sacred in both Buddhism and Shintoism religions. Kobodaishi founded this site and no one was allowed to stay overnight on it for many years.  These days there are a few hotels and guesthouses but most people take the quick ferry over and back.

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Most recognizable on Miyajima Island is the Great Torii out in the middle of the water- although if the tide is really low you can walk out too it.

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The Group:

Shrine Island Japan

Miyajima Island is filled with “wild” but very tame deer that are a bit aggressive if they are hungry.

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A few of my traveling companions don’t ever see deer so they were pretty excited. Being from Iowa, I consider them car killers was not as thrilled and did not get too close.


The main shrine on the island is Istukushima Shrine, which floats on the water. It is mostly bright orange, to ward off evil spirits.  It also makes it highly visible during the torrential downpours of the day.

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I paid 100 Yen for my fortune here.  It came in Japanese so I have no idea what it said- I hope it was a good one!

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We were supposed to hike to the top of Mt. Misen but the weather kept us from the climb. Too slippery and too foggy to see anything if we did make it without injuring ourselves.  Bummer.

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This bridge in the floating shrine is ridiculous. It is known as Arched Bridge or Imperial Messengers Bridge and stairs were built to be able to use it during festivals.  It is like having a door that won’t open- super-functional.

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The Old Town shopping and eating area on Miyajima Island is great! We arrived late in the afternoon when things were closing so we didn’t get to do much shopping and eating but I made the most of our time.  They had an ice cream at one place called Deer turd.  No thanks.

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Those who did buy food were chased back to the ferry boat by those crazy deer!


Miyajima Island is only an hour or so outside of Hiroshima and is considered one of the most beautiful spots in Japan.  Definitely make the time for an afternoon on a non-rainy day to hike, shop, and eat here. Beware of those hungry deer!

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