Miyajima is a must-do day trip from Hiroshima. After a short train ride, walk about 10 minutes to the ferry terminal. JR Pass holders can take the JR ferry, which is free, while the rest can also choose another ferry operator next door.
Oysters are a local speciality and they are grown in aqua-farms here.
The short 10-minute ferry ride costs 180 yen each way.
I arrived fairly early in the morning for a jam-packed day in both Miyajima and Iwakuni. However, I'm not a big fan of fried foods so I will save the oyster tasting for later.
At over 16m tall and weighting 60 tons, I saw the Torii at high tide, when it is submerged in water. The vermilion colouring is designed to keep evil spirits away and matches with the rest of the shrine.
The key attraction in Miyajima is the Istukushima Shrine. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the floating temple has over 1400 years of history. This was originally a family shrine when it was completed in 1168. However, the original buildings have been consumed by fires and the current main sanctuary was built in 1571.
These lanterns are made of bronze and date from the early 20th century, but modeled after their 14th century predecessors.
Climb uphill and the Tahoto offers a nice view of the shrine below. Said to have been built in 1523, the pagoda was used to worship the Buddha of Medicine originally.
Daishoin Temple sprawls along the forested hillside a bit tucked away from the main bustle of the town. While a bit of a walk away, it is well worth a visit with numerous buildings of interest. Dating from the 12th century, the temple had links with the Imperial Family until the 19th century.
500 statues line both sides of the steps leading to the temple.
Many statues line the dimly-lit Henjokutsu Cave.
Spinning the mani wheels will bring as many blessings as reading one volume of Buddhist scriptures.
This temple offers a very different experience than the overcrowded Itsukushima. You can actually get a building all to yourself for some quiet time to reflect or to perfect that photo you wanted to capture.