{Japan: Explore} Our Failed Attempt To See Miyajima’s Floating Torii

miyajima itsukushima shrine floating torii

In a Nutshell:

  • Where: Itsukushima Shrine’s Floating Torii at Miyajima Island (less than an hour outside of Hiroshima)
  • When: May 27, 2012
  • *Notes: the torii’s renovation has been completed, from Miyajimaguchi Station take the JR Ferry to Miyajima Island (340 Yen round-trip, free with the JR Pass)

Full Report:

During our stay in Hiroshima, M and I took a little side trip to the beautiful island of Miyajima.  From Miyajimaguchi station we boarded a ferry and were enjoying the views as we slowly drifted towards the island.  One of our main reasons for going there was to see the very famous Itsukushima Shrine’s floating torii.  How famous is it?  It’s been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as a Japanese National Treasure, and considered to be one of the Top 3 Views in Japan.  So you can understand our excitement in finally being able to come face to face with this celebrated attraction.  However, as the boat sailed closer to the island, a horrible sight greeted us: the torii was covered in scaffolding!

miyajima ferry

miyajima ferry

miyajima ferry

miyajima ferry

Horrors upon horrors!!!!

Okay, I’m not telling the whole story here…..before our trip I had read on japan-guide.com that the torii was being renovated.  So it wasn’t a complete shock to see it all covered up.  I guess I was just hoping that construction would be done before the projected date of completion and I would get to see the torii in its full glory.  But, alas, it was not meant to be.

Despite our disappointment over the torii, we still had a great time on Miyajima Island.  There were a number of shops on the island selling all kinds of knick knacks and goodies.  We purchased a few momiji manju which is the #1 snack to eat on the island.  It’s definitely not hard to find, practically every single store was selling them.  I got a cream filled one and M ate a couple of azuki ones.  We got a kick out of seeing the world’s largest shamoji (rice scoop).  Speaking of shamojis, it is THE souvenir to bring back to your friends/family from Miyajima.  We got a few and they were nicer than the ones we can get back home in Southern California.

I need to mention that there are a large number of deer roaming free on the island.  They were quite adorable and I petted the smaller, Bambi-esque ones.  I was a little frightened of the ones with antlers and tried to stay out of their way.  Although there was a sign stating that visitors must not feed the deer, I think they were hungry.  I saw many of them pursuing people with food.  In fact it happened to M when he bought a corn on the cob from a vendor along the shore.  The poor deer was quite aggressive and wouldn’t leave M alone, and we finally had to run from him (or her).

As the activity on the island started winding down (around 5-6 PM), M and I made our way back to the ferry pier to catch a boat back to the mainland.  Once there, we grabbed a delicious anago meshi bento from Ueno Restaurant and jumped on a train, prepared to enjoy our last night in Hiroshima.

miyajima deer

miyajima don't feed the deer sign

miyajima

miyajima

miyajima momiji manju

My delicious, cream-filled momiji manju.

miyajima shamoji

World’s largest shamoji!

miyajima

miyajima

5-storied pagoda

miyajima

miyajima

miyajima

Where M got his corn.

miyajima

istukushima torii