Miyajima is a small island very near to Hirosima, it can be reached via the JR rail and a short ferry ride, and for the views and nature I would highly recommend anybody visiting Hiroshima to make the trip. To get there you can take the JR from Hiroshima to Iwakuni, from there take the ferry, the whole trip starting in Hiroshima should take no longer than an hour which is definitely worth it to see one of the most scenic places in Japan.
One of the main sights to see on Miyajima is the great tori gate. Tori gates are all over the place in Japan but I think this is the most impressive one I have seen. Miyajima is steeped in buddhist and shinto history, it is a very spiritual island so worth visiting if you dig that kind of thing. Many legends also surround the place especially the scared mountain on the island, mount Misen.
Similar to Nara, wild deer roam all around the island of Miyajima and like in Nara the animals are so used to humans they don’t even bat an eye when you get close to them, although it is important to remember that despite their placid temperament, they are still wild animals and will give you a bite or head-butt if you get too close.
The walk up mount Misen can be pretty challenging in the heat, on the day we were there it was approaching 30 degrees and by the time I made it to the top I was dripping in sweat. I’d say allow up to 2 hours for the climb to the top maybe more maybe less depending on your level of fitness. The walk up is enjoyable and offers numerous places to stop to take in the surroundings and when you get to the top it offers views of unparalleled beauty.
There are also numerous pagodas and shrines on the island, but you can only see so many shrines and pagodas, am I right? I mean when they are dotted around every town and city you visit, they stop grabbing the eye like the first ones you see do. That being said, they are beautiful.
It was a long day on Miyajima but we still managed to get back to Hiroshima in time to eat some Okonomiyaki, play some arcade games before settling in for the night with one of Japan’s many weird flavoured Kitkats and a peach flavoured Fanta, I remember sleeping very well that night.