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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
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Things to do in Japan

Visit a floating shrine on Miyajima Island

There are deer everywhere on Miyajama, and they get quite close. If you have something coming out of your pocket, they’ll want it…

By Patrick Loyer
Product Design Executive, Discova

Mountains, forests and sea come together on Miyajima Island, located just outside of Hiroshima and considered one of Japan’s most scenic spots. We offer a half-day tour from the city for guests wanting to see the island with a guide and get a glimpse into local life.

To get here, you take the train from the city and then get a 15-minute ferry to reach the island. From the ferry you can see the famous red ‘floating’ torii gate rising out of the water and the bright red Itsukushima Shrine next to it, built in the 10th century and now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

When the tide goes out you can actually walk out to the gate, but when the tide’s in, it’s surrounded by water, which makes for a picturesque view. Depending on the tide and time, you have the option take a little wooden boat out to the gate as part of the tour.

The tour takes you to visit the shrine and some of the other highlights on the island, including a five-story pagoda, several historic temples and little shops selling moiji manju – maple-shaped sweet treats stuffed with bean paste and other fillings, which are a delicious local snack here. You can stop and see how these are made, and watch local craftspeople making wood carvings and other souvenirs too. The island is also known for its oysters, so it’s a good place to try these.

There are also wild deer everywhere on Miyajama, and they get quite close. If you have something coming out of your pocket, they’re going to want it, so be careful! But it’s a lot of fun and it’s one of my favourite things about the island.

If the weather is good, you can also take a cable car to the top of the mountain – the views are spectacular, with several other islands around the bay and beautiful scenery dotted with deer beneath you. I love coming here and would highly recommend it!


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Alfred & Patrick Loyer

Originally from Canada, Patrick has been living in Japan for over 13 years. After a year-long working holiday in Japan in 2007, he moved to the country permanently in 2010. He has lived in Hokkaido, Nagoya and Shizuoka, where he is currently based. He loves Japanese culture, best-seen in the country’s festivals, which combine historic traditions with modern elements.

Plan your holiday withAlfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Richard, who's travelled extensively in Japan. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the tea devotee who'll introduce you to the ceremony surrounding Japan's national drink, the noodle guru who'll teach you how to make the perfect bowl of soba and the ryokan owner who'll tutor you in the relaxing art of the onsen.

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