Have you been to a place where you can FEEL the history? Have you been to a place where you can FEEL the existence of the God? If you haven't, this is the place.
Miyajima is a small island near Hiroshima, Japan, and this whole island has been worshiped as a God since the ancient times. When people hear the word “Hiroshima,” they tend to think of the tragedy that hit this city during the WWII, but no worries- I’m not here to talk about the sad history of Japan. I’m here to introduce you to this beautiful island where people and Gods live together.
Miyajima is very famous for Itsukushima Shrine, which was originally built in the late 500’s. The shrine is built on the beach, and when the tide comes in, the building looks as if it’s floating over the sea. The shine is very beautiful, and is one of my favorite historical buildings in Japan. First, before I forget, I want to make sure that I talk about the two ways of enjoying this shrine. There is a Big red gate, called “Ootorii”, out in the ocean and during the high tide, you will see the gate over the ocean, which is amazingly beautiful, but If you choose to go during the low tide, you will be able to walk up to the gate, which is a lot of fun. When we went to the shrine, we got there during the low tide, but by the time we were done exploring the whole island, the high tide has come in, so we were able to enjoy both of them during one visit!
After we went to the Itsukushima Shrine, we rented bicycles, and biked around the city. This island has numbers of wild deer that comes down from the nearby mountain, and we got to see them everywhere as we explore the city. The whole city is built so old-school, and the street, bridges, stores, and everything else are so pretty there, and I truly think that I had the best bike riding experience of my life! We biked up on the hill to go up to Mt. Misen, which has been considered to be a sacred place for Buddhists in Japan.
Mt. Misen is said to be visited by one of Japan’s holiest persons, Kukai (aka Kobo Daishi), who is the founder of Shingon sect of Buddhism, and is said to be where Buddhism was first practiced in Japan. We left our bike on top of the hill, and then, took a cable car ride to go up higher on the mountain. When we got off the cable car, we were greeted by tons of cute monkeys, which was really exciting, too! We decided to take a hike to even go higher on the mountain, and even though it was tiring, the view was nothing but gorgeous:)
Hiroshima is a very popular sightseeing spot, but I think more people go to Hiroshima city, where the peace memorial park and museum are. We did go to those places the day before we went to Miyajima, too, but I really recommend people to visit Miyajima if you ever have a chance to go to Hiroshima. The peace memorial museum would definitely leave you depressed, and I really believe that the visit to Miyajima would cheer you up big time! Itsukushima shrine was added to the UNESCO world heritage site in 1996, and Miyajima is considered to be Japan’s top 3 views. Miyajima is accessible from Hiroshima city on the train, and a nice short ferry ride. If you are interested, check out some websites on Miyajima below!