One of Japan's three most scenic spots is known to be Setouchi's famous place, Miyajima Island. Centered on Itsukushima Jinjya Shrine, which is registered as a World a Heritage Site, this area has the charm of each season, and is a popular tourist attraction in Asia. We will introduce you to the wonders of Miyajima during wintertime.
Miyajima Island's Itsukushima Jinja Shrine is said to have been built in 593. It is especially famous for its impressive red painted corridor which was constructed during or after the 12th century, and also the beauty of the shrine that stands in the rise and fall of the tide.
During wintertime at Miyajima Island, sometimes it snows, and the contrast of the snow and the color of the Otorii (large gateway) of Itsukushima Jinja Shrine is beautiful. The number of tourists is fewer in winter, so you can relax and enjoy.
Miyajima during the winter is not too cold, and the amount of snowfall is little. But recently, more tourists go when there is snowfall to see the snow-covered Itsukushima Jinja Shrine. If you use the Miyajima Ropeway and go up to the Mt. Misen observatory deck, you will have a magnificent view since the air is clear during wintertime.
You can get to Miyajima Island from JR Hiroshima Station using the Sanyo Honsen Line, or a streetcar called Hiroden which takes you to Miyajimaguchi ferry terminal. It takes about 25 minutes to Miyajimaguchi if you use the Sanyo Honsen Line, but if you would like to take it easy and take the streetcar, looking at sceneries different from what you see from trains, it will take about 75 minutes. You would pass right by the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, and as you approach Miyajimaguchi, the journey along the beach will be an interesting one if you have the time.
Then, from Miyajimaguchi, you will go to Miyajima Ferry Terminal which has a Miyajima Sanbashi (pier), by ferry, taking about 10 minutes. By the way, if you use a high-speed vessel from Motoyasu Sanbashi located near Hiroshima Harbor and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial and reach Miyajima Sanbashi, it will be an excursion of 20 to 35 minutes.
There are two routes you can choose to go to Itsukushima Jinjya Shrine from Miyajima Sanbashi — passing through Omotesando Shopping Street, or passing through Machiya Dori Street, which used to be the main street. Machiya Dori Street is also called back street, keeping the old townscape as old-fashioned shops and a Japanese style modern café quietly stand.
Along the Omotesando shopping street, which is about 350 meters and is connected to the stone gate where you can see the Otorii, line “kaki goya (oyster house)” where you can thoroughly enjoy Hiroshima oysters, the flavor of the ocean. You can taste fresh grilled oysters among various oyster dishes.
Hiroshima produced oysters account for 60 percent of the total oysters produced in Japan. They are large with a strong sweetness, which is a seasonal taste. Every year during February, when oysters are most delicious, they have “Miyajima Oyster Festival” on the second Saturday and Sunday of the month. You can enjoy various oyster dishes such as grilled oyster, oyster dote nabe hot pot, and seiro mushi steamed oyster, and more.
If you want to relax and enjoy Hiroshima's oyster dishes, go to “Kakiya,” Miyajima's only oyster specialty restaurant, which is a Michelin-starred. You can enjoy a set meal of all sorts of oyster — grilled and fried oyster, oil-packed oyster, oyster rice, red miso soup oyster and more.
●539, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture
●Irregular closing days
If you want to digest your meal, “Miyajima Suizokukan (Miyajima Public Aquarium),” a popular spot where you can have fun without feeling cold is highly recommended. If you use the Miyajima Maple Liner Bus from the Miyajima Sanbashi (pier), it will take 10 minutes. From Itsukushima Jinjya Shrine exit, it will take about 5 minutes.
Between Itsukushima Jinjya Shrine and Miyajima Suizokukan, there are two routes you can take. One is the coastal route where you will pass Daigan-ji Temple and Kiyomori Jinjya Shrine, and there is the mountain side route, where you pass the Homotsu-kan (treasure hall) and Miyajima Rekishi Minzoku Shiryo-kan (museum of history and folklore). If you use two different routes for going and returning, you will be able to thoroughly enjoy the tour.
Miyajima Suizokukan is a Japanese-style building to match the landscape of the World Cultural Heritage such as Itsukushima Jinjya Shrine, and exhibits more than 350 creatures mainly from Seto Inland Sea.
Live shows of otters and sea lions are popular attractions. In a rare oyster aquarium, oysters that were raised in the Seto Inland Sea near Miyajima, are on ropes, and you can see the ecosystem of oysters in the ocean.
●10-3, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture
●9:00-17:00 *last admission is 16:00
●Due to facility maintenance and inspection, there are special closing days
The “Momiji Manju (steamed bun)” is famous as a souvenir of Hiroshima, and at “Yamadaya,” a well-established shop, you can experience making hand-baked Momiji Manju. You can wrap and take home the manju you made as a souvenir (the freshness date is within 4 days).
●835-1, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture
●Closed on between December 29 and January 4
Another famous Hiroshima souvenir is Miyajima's Shamoji (large wooden spoon). Miyajima is Japan's No. 1 shamoji producing area, and it is said to be the birthplace of the shamoji.
The rice crackers made using shamoji as a motif at “Fujiiya Main Shop” are bringers of good luck in four ways— domestic safety, prosperous business, successful romantic relationship, and passing of examination. Their fancy box has good taste, which makes a nice gift, and is highly recommended.
“Fujiiya Main Shop”
●1129, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture
*The above information was last updated January 28, 2018. For further information, please contact the facilities directly.
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