Overnighting on Miyajima
The island of Miyajima is one of the most popular attractions in all of Japan. Located to the west of Hiroshima city, the island welcomes boatloads of tourists every day (and even its own Starbucks as of 2017). The island was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996 and its iconic “floating” torii is one of the most picturesque views of Japan. In fact, Miyajima is so striking that it has been often ranked as one of the three best views in all of Japan. Hell, even those who haven’t even been to Japan are able to identify the sacred island from time to time!
While Miyajima is firmly located “on the beaten path,” few foreign tourists are aware of a little-known secret about the island. You see, Miyajima is actually home many traditional Japanese ryokan and these make for the perfect overnight experience. The area takes on a relaxed and almost otherworldly vibe after the sun goes down and the tour groups depart. Furthermore, Miyajima is home to so many awesome adventures and venues that it just isn’t possible to do it all without the early start that a stay allows.
Before we continue, you should know that Miyajima is actually the island’s nickname. The official name of the island is Itsukushima. The colloquial title came about due to the island being so closely related to its star attraction, Itsukushima Shrine. Over time, people just started calling it Miyajima which literally translates to “Shrine Island.” This might seem a little confusing at first but the two names are used interchangeably. For simplicity sake, I’ll be sticking with the vernacular nomenclature throughout this piece.
Oh and one last thing! Hold on for the ride; this is going to be another very long piece. I recommend that you grab a cup of joe and set aside some time before beginning. In this article I’ll be covering an entire two day itinerary in great detail. That said, those who read all the way through will know how to avoid the crowds and get the most out of their experience on Miyajima.