10 January 2012

Hiroshima/Miyajima Nov 2011 - Part II

Continued from Part I
Day 2 - to Miyajima 宮島!
We woke up early, packed our luggage and checked out by 9+. Then proceeded to Sheraton Hotel Hiroshima (hubby's corporate hotel for his work trip) to store our luggage there. Next, breakfast at Cafe Danmark which is just outside the JR Hiroshima Station and a stone's throw from Sheraton Hotel.
I love Japanese Bakery, all the breads look and taste good! We bought a ham and cheese toast and black sesame mayo egg sandwich. The breads were really soft and fluffy with generous amount of fillings.
After breakfast, it's time to proceed to Miyajimaguchi ferry pier. We bought the Miyajima Free Pass at ¥2000 (available at Hiroshima tram station) which included 2 days of unlimited Hiroshima tram rides, ferry rides to and fro Miyajima and Mt. Misen ropeway. Very worthwhile since 2-way ropeway already cost ¥1800 and 2-way ferry ¥300, couldn't remember how much tram ride cost. Downside was the tram ride from Hiroshima station to Miyajimaguchi station took more than an hour whereas a JR ride would take only 25 mins.
This was the ferry which could take vehicles into the island as well, but I guess not many people do that due to narrow roads and limited parking on the island.
The island's real name is Itsukushima (厳島), and Miyajima 宮島 is a popular nickname meaning "Shrine Island". The island is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on top of the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan's three best views. The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The ferry took just a short 10 min, and on board we could already see the bright red torii gate in the distant. It was quite a cloudy day though and we could see thick mist surrounding the mountains.

Miyajima Port. The island was crowded since it was a weekend, coupled with autumn season where beautiful autumn foliage can be viewed on the island and in the mountains.

Map of the island. Most attractions within walking distance between each other. There are several scenic hiking trails as well, very popular among the Japanese.
Deers roam freely on the island. Beware though as they love eating paper. I got a shock when a deer chased after me for a ticket that I put in the back pocket of my jeans. Well, he got the ticket and ate it, its was aggressive and won't let go!
What caught hubby's our attention were the numerous street vendors selling all kinds of snacks. As it was approaching lunch time, we decided to eat our way through the shopping street. Haha :p

First up was grilled squid with a sauce similar to teriyaki sauce. The squid was chewy with a slightly charred smell/taste, yummy! What a great way to start our exploration in Miyajima.
Next up, grilled oysters. It was a must-have since Miyajima/Hiroshima is famous for oysters. There are many oyster farms around the island as well as Hiroshima Bay and and winter is also the best season for oysters.
My my, the oysters were fat, juicy and extremely fresh!!! Naturally we had to have our fill of oysters these 2 days, simply had to ignore cholesterol level.
A sweet lady selling maple shaped fish cake, a specialty snack of the island.
There's cheese inside. Very bouncy and cheesy (no pun intended). Yummy!
Another must-try, Hiroshima Mikan (orange) Soft Cream (soft-serve ice-cream).
We got the Mikan and Vanilla one. The Mikan flavour was tangy and refreshing, and complemented with the creamy taste of vanilla flavour. Was even thinking of seconds :p
Yet another stall selling grilled fishcake, albeit longish ones.
Once again, very yummy with bits of octopus and spring onion.
Miyajima is also well-known for producing wooden spatulas. This is the World's largest spatula, placed along the shopping street Omotesando.
Shop with very cute mascots.
Oyster shops are aplenty on the island. This particular shop is very interesing with a black theme and a macho uncle grilling oysters all day long. Unfortunately we didn't try this store.
Shopping street has many shops selling the famous souvenirs of Miyajima, like wooden spatulas (use for cooking or lucky charm in different sizes with auspicious writing), Momiji-manju (cake in a maple leave shape with different types of fillings such as custard, red bean, chocolate), pickled Hiroshima leaves/vegetables, Kumano brushes (calligraphy, paint and make-up brushes).
Finally we reached the torii gate. It was low tide so many people walked on the sandy beach to get as close to the gate as possible to take photos.
Good opportunity to take a full frontal view of the Itsukushima Shrine during low tide.

Thereafter we headed towards Mt. Misen. Although hiking in autumn should be quite comfortable, we were lazy decided to maximise the usage of our Miyajima Free Pass :p It would like about 15 mins to get up to Mt. Misen, whereas 1-2 hrs if we were to hike up the scenic walking trail.

Here's a signage showing the way to the ropeway station. Found it quite comical for the translation, 7 mins to reach the station if run a little. Actually even 10 mins walk is understated as the trail cuts through Momijidani Park and slightly uphill, or maybe we just lacked the stamina. Haha.
Well actually it's because Momijidani Park is so beautifula and we took our own sweet time to admire the autumn foliage. It was our first time visiting Japan during autumn season, so far previous trips were either during spring or winter.
Just look at all the beautiful colours.
With the cool weather and breathtaking scenery, we lingered in the park for quite some time.
In fact over the 2 days, we walked around the park a few times as our Ryokan is located right in the middle of the park, enroute to Mt. Misen ropeway station.

Hubby even started collecting the maple leaves of different colours and sizes. Haha.
Shall end this post here with all the lovely pictures of Momijidani Park. Next post will be Mt. Misen and Torii Gate during sunset. Stay tuned.

Travel resources


  1. Looks like an amazing destination.

  2. I went to Hiroshima and Miyajima many years ago. I never quite forgot the beautiful Kaki fry (fried oysters I had there). The fishcake you had looked amazing!

  3. Hi OKC,
    The oysters were really succulent! The fishcake also very nice!