Japan cheap travel

A complete guide to budget travel in Japan

 The shrine at Miyajima
 The Miyajima Shrine at low tide
 Miyajima Temple
 Miyajima Temple


Miyajima Island or, as it is officially known, Itsukushima Island, is a little southwest of Hiroshima. The island is accessed by a short ten-minute ferry ride and is an excellent stop-off point from Hiroshima.

It might even be possible to use your Seishun 18 Kippu pass for the ferry to Miyajima, and you will certainly be able to use Seishun 18 Kippu for the train journey from the centre of Hiroshima to the ferry port. The ferry port is located at Miyajima-guchi station.

Miyajima island is stunningly beautiful and entirely photogenic. For the budget traveller, the Island is a perfect tourist attraction as most of the sites are free to visit. The island is steeped in history; the most famous site, the Itsukushimajinja shrine was built in 593AD. Miyajima Island is a World Cultural Heritage Site.

An enormous, red torii gate stands in the sea facing the city of Hiroshima and during low tide you can walk all around it. We recommend staying overnight on Miyajima Island, if you can, because the island becomes much more peaceful after the last ferryload of tourists has left for the day. Also, the shrine is illuminated at night.

Camping on Miyajima Island

There is an excellent campsite 'Miyajima Tsutsumigaura Camp-jo' located 10 minutes by bus from the the main Miyajima Pier. The campsite is open all year round, except towards the end of the year. Camping is 300 yen per person. You can also rent tents (2060 to 3360 yen) or cabins (14,830 to 49,440 yen). The Miyajima campsite facilities are good, including a shop, bath, showers, water, toilets and covered cooking area.

ONE word of warning, watch out for the 'friendly' deer. One of whom raided our neighbour's tent and squeezed open his pack of beers. We can only assume that he drank the beers judging by our later encounter with the little deer, as he started behavingly rather oddly. He thought nothing of eating our Miyajima Map in front of us and then proceeded to barge his way into our tent! These 'tame' deer do roam freely around Miyajima Island and are used to being fed by tourists. They can be a bit of a bother.

We stayed for two nights on Miyajima Island and spent our time at the beachside campsite, Miyajima Tsutsumigaura Camp-jo, as well as discovering the Itsukushimajinja shrine and temple buildings. If you can stay overnight, you will be able to access the temple and floating torii gate when there are fewer tourists around.