Miyajima is to Japan what Mont-Saint Michel is to France.
Actually the two cities are twinned since 2009!
Getting to Miyajima from Hiroshima is easy: you can catch a train at Hiroshima station and few stops later you change to the ferry. You will be given this ticket, to make sure you don’t get lost.
One can not return from Japan without experiencing an overnight stay in a ryokan.
You might ask what does this weird word mean? A ryokan is a hotel built in the Japanese tradition. It actually reminded me of the houses seen in mangas when I was a kid.
Usually, there is a little amount of rooms, the price is higher than other options but it includes a kaiseki diner (which is the highest standard for meals) and breakfast. Usually, you can find an onsen (traditional Japanese hot baths, where you go naked 🙂 ).
Since it’s rather a pricey option, we only stayed one night in a ryokan and we are very glad we did it!
We opted for the beautiful Iwaso Ryokan! As we landed off the ferry, we went to the welcome office and they called our hosts. Few minutes later, a mini van came to pick us with our luggage.
A very nice lady took us to our room and explained everything about the place: we had to choose time for dinner and decided if we wanted Japanese or Western-style breakfast. Kimonos and traditional Japanese shoes were borrowed to us.
The room was beautiful and filled with light. It is a very relaxing place 🙂
By 7.30 pm our kaiseki diner was served in our room. She was bringing dish by dish ans answered every question we had with a perfect English. The lady was extremely nice and don’t ask how but we had a lot of fun with her! 🙂
The food was fresh and tasty. We discovered new things about culinary habits but some textures are still bizarre to us… like the calamari shrimp. It’s eatable, but we do not enjoy it.
We paired our diner with a sake recommended by our host and we ended on a sweet note: green tea ice cream and melon!
When we finished diner, we went to the onsen to relax a bit while they set our futon beds:
After a good night of sleep, we had Japanese breakfast. It includes rice, pickles, miso soup, fish, tofu, seaweed: a lifetime experience!
Before leaving this heavenly place, we went back to the onsen. There are two rooms: one for men and the other for women. Every day, they switch men and women so you can try both sides.
It’s a little bit weird to get naked in front of everybody, especially the first time. The onsen is beautiful and you have everything you need: towels, soap and shampoo from the brand shiseido. They also have single use hair-brushes and hair-dryers.
There are two baths per room: one inside and another outside. I could not stand the bath inside since it was way too hot for me. But I enjoyed the outside place a lot.
Wandering in the streets of Myiajima is really cool: you’ll see beautiful deers chilling all around! You can easily touch them. Actually if you are carrying food, they will chase you to get some!
You can also take a cable-car to Mount Misen! When you get to the top there is no doubt that you’ll enjoy the view. However, there are HUGE bees on top of the mountain. I got scared to get beaten (I’m the person who gets always beaten in the group), so we stayed 15 minutes and came back.
Obviously you’ll go to the shrine which made the island famous! Either during the day or by the sunset, we loved this landmark!
Miyajima should be a stop while you travel in Japan. One day should be enough, especially if you are short in time!
Our next escape: Osaka. Check our tips here.
To find out about our trip at a glance, go here.