Miyajima is a beautiful island which belongs to Hiroshima and Itsukushima shrine there is one of the most famous world heritage in Japan. To people like me that were born in Hiroshima feel really proud of this beautiful and historical place. And of course I love Miyajima and can’t remember how many times I went there!
To get to Miyajima, there are two ways; to use tram or the national rail line. As I told you many times in this website that Hiroshima was designed very efficient and convenient, both ways are really easy for us to use, but if you visit Miyajima on the first day of your stay in Hiroshima and you have plenty of time, then I recommend to take the tram. The tram goes more slowly than trains, but because of the tram runs into the centre of city, you can see the actual city including atomic bomb dorm. (Do not worry whether the city is still harmful because of the radiation. You can actually get 5m close to the building which was destroyed by the bomb.) Whenever I get city trams and see this successful town, I feel so proud that our ancestors worked so hard and built Hiroshima from nothing. Of course, you can enjoy your trip with train, which runs very mountainous way. So your choice is, actually, nature or urban city. Miyajima is a island so you have to get a ferry to the island from the nearest station. (Both tram and train arrive at same station.) You might get confused when you find two similar ferry stations in front of you. But do not worry. They were just owned by different companies and the price and destination are all same. You can take any ferry you find!
First of all I want to say you should try the popular foods there, Anago (Conger), which is very similar to eel but has less fat. We often put grilled Anago on rice and pour sauce on the top (Anago-don). Maybe the restaurants around there can be divided into two styles; oyster restaurants or Anago restaurants. We tried an Anago restaurant located between train station and ferry station.
Yes, symbol “あなご” means Conger. you will see this character so many times around this area. What makes this area so special about congers is their quality. Congers caught in this area are very meaty and have perfect amount of fat. Usually congers are not featured because they are very similar to eels and have less flavour than eels. Although the congers from this area have very strong flavour so actually the chefs do not need any strong sauce. In this area you can enjoy real congers taste.
Once you land on Miyajima, I imagine you will follow your guidebook and visit some places. (I will not mention how wonderful the shrine is or there is a small aquarium etc… because these are too obvious staff! But it does not mean they do not deserve to be visited! Because I went there countless times, I focus more on minor points!) Just in case of that you have more time to spare, I will show you some more extra fun you can have there.
[Age momiji (deep fried Japanese cake)]
Have you tried Anko (sweat black beans paste)? It is often found in the Japanese cake. Momiji manju (“Momiji” means maple. “Manju” means Japanese cake. Momiji manju is Japanese cake shaped as maple. These are some options of filling inside, and Anko is the most basic one.) is loved by Japanese people for a long time in Hiroshima. And last 5 years this deep fried momiji manju called “age momji” has been featured and so popular. Please try if you find a shop you can try fresh one!
[Walk through the gate]
If you are very lucky, you can walk through the gate which bottom is usually sunk deeply in the sea. (You can clearly see the height of the water.) You can check the time you can walk through in the website. (I am sorry but the website managed by the local organization is written in only Japanese. If somebody wants to check the time then you can leave me a comment so that I can help you!)
It is said that you can get the luck if you go through the gate, please try!
[Find a sweet deer who wants to have a seat in the restaurant!]
I do not know why and nobody knows why, but he is always there.
In Miyajima there are so many wild deers and live with people. In the past, biscuits for deers are sold but that made deers expect people always to feed them so the government decided to ban people to feed deers. Government has been trying very hard to look for the way both deers and humans can be happy in this island but still many people ignore our governments efforts. I even saw some foreign people gave them tissue and deers were eating. These things always made me so upset. When you find deers in Hiroshima, please try to let them how they naturally should be. A little touch does not bother them but feeding them affects their heath a lot.
From these history, sometimes naughty deers put their heads in your bag. Or bite your skirt. However, there is a very well-behaving deer in Miyajima as well. He is waiting for the owner to open the door and welcome him. Around lunch time, sometimes he try to look into the restaurant as if he wonders if there is an available seat for him! Unfortunately I have never seen him welcomed into the restaurant and while he is sitting like this, nobody can enter the restaurant so I am sure the owner is not happy about this!
The next morning I passed the same place and he is still there! Such a sweet deer.
You know what, all these bottles are Bacardi!! It must be new because I have not known there was a cafe like that. It seems like you can choose the flavour. Maybe I will try next time!
[Stay at traditional hotel]
This time we stayed at hotel 聚景荘 (Jukei-so) which located high in the mountain and you can enjoy the view from the room…
And of course, dinner as well!
These all are served in a course dinner. Don’t you think amazing?
There are many stories and histories in Miyajima that guidebooks never tell you. There are also many people who actually live in the island behind the mountain. I am very grateful if you decide to spend more time there than the original plan after you read this. xx