The tiny but captivating Miyajima Island is in the Inland Sea, just off Hiroshima Bay – it literally translates as Shrine Island, best known for its floating torii shrine gate that greets boats on their way from the mainland.
The much-photographed shrine of Itsukushima's imposing vermillion entrance gate seems to float in the water at high tide and is considered to be one of the country's most memorable views. It’s a mesmerising sight, especially at sunset when its vermillion curves seem to set aglow, reflected in the waters and backed by green-covered mountain sides. This is Japan, so the Itsukushima Shrine is not its only offering. There's the Daiganji Temple, the five-storied vermillion Buddhist Pagoda and unfinished golf-leafed Senjyokaku.
Day hikes or cable car rides past overly friendly deer bring you to the Buddhist structures of the island’s mountain summit. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with views out over the islands of Seto Inland Sea back to Hiroshima City. It's mostly covered by virgin forest with endemic plants, where cherry blossoms bloom in spring and shades of red and orange dominate in autumn.