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Best Tours to Miyajima, JapanGuided tours of this historic island

Miyajima: The Shrine Island

Located less than an hour from the city of Hiroshima, the UNESCO-listed Miyajima Island is one of Japan's most loved scenic spots with an enchanting rural charm and equally as enchanting natural scenery. The mountainous virgin forest is dotted with peaceful temples and home to native fauna including the sacred deer that roam freely.

Many visitors come to the island for one thing in particular - the oft-photographed red torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine which appears to be floating in the sea at high tide. Rated as one of Japan's most iconic views, the torii gate stands out in front of the shrine complex, which is also built over the water. The shrine comprises a prayer hall, main hall and noh threate stage, connected by boardwalks. In the evening the torii gate and the shrine are illuminated to create a particular romantic image.

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What to do in Miyajima, Japan

Miyajima, also known as Itsukushima, is a small island located in Hiroshima Bay, Japan. It's renowned for its scenic beauty, historical sites, and cultural significance. Here are the three best things to do in Miyajima:

1. Visit the Itsukushima Shrine and Torii Gate

The Itsukushima Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its "floating" torii gate. At high tide, the gate and shrine appear to float on water, creating a stunning and iconic view. Walking around the shrine's wooden boardwalks and observing its intricate architecture is a must-do experience. The best time to see the torii gate is at high tide, but it's also worth visiting at low tide when you can walk out to the gate and see it up close.

2. Hike Mount Misen

Mount Misen is the highest peak on Miyajima and offers breathtaking panoramic views of the island, the Seto Inland Sea, and, on clear days, the surrounding mainland. There are several hiking trails to the summit, each offering a different experience through lush forests and past historical sites like the Reikado Hall, which houses an eternal flame. For those who prefer a less strenuous journey, there is a rope way that takes visitors partway up the mountain, with a shorter hike to the top.

3. Explore Daisho-in Temple

Daisho-in Temple is one of the most significant Buddhist temples in Miyajima, known for its serene atmosphere and beautiful setting at the base of Mount Misen. The temple complex is expansive, featuring numerous halls, statues, and gardens. Highlights include the Henjokutsu Cave, which is filled with statues representing the 88 temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, and the intricate sand mandalas created by visiting Tibetan monks. The temple's peaceful ambiance and spiritual significance make it a rewarding visit.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best time to visit Japan?

The best time to visit Japan is during the spring (March to May) for cherry blossoms and autumn (September to November) for vibrant fall foliage. Both seasons offer mild weather and beautiful scenery.

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Are there any special events or festivals on Miyajima?

What is the significance of the Itsukushima Shrine's floating torii gate?

Are there any hiking trails on Miyajima?

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Japan tours: Discover the highlights of Japan

Whilst Japan is full of unforgettable highlights, these are the places that you really can't miss on your trip. From the heaving metropolis of Tokyo to the peaceful, rural tranquillity of Miyajima Island and Kyoto - steeped in ancient history. Japan is a land of beautiful contrasts just waiting to be explored.

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