Miyajima by NightArea Guide
The crowds of tourists on Miyajima tend to have left by the time the sun sets. But for those who stay late, the Island takes on a slightly different character.
If you have time to stay late on Miyajima, or better still, spending the night at one of the ryokans or guesthouses on this island, we highly recommend that you take the opportunity to do so.
Watching the sun set over the mountains across the strait, is a spectacular sight indeed. The dramatic sky reflected in the quiet waves of the ocean with the majestic torii gate of the Itsukushima Shrine framing it all, is a classical postcard image from this island. Yet, nothing beats experiencing it with your own eyes.
By the time the sun starts to set over Miyajima, most of the tourists are also gone. Having this picturesque island – one of the top scenic spots in all of Japan – all to yourself, feels like an exclusive luxury. Especially considering how picture perfect everything looks. It is also as close to the perfect date spot as we can imagine, something that might be useful information for some.
And the magic doesn’t end as soon as the sun is gone – by then, several of the landmarks on this island are lit up artificially.
The torii gate as well as the temple itself all get bathed in in warm light from neatly hidden spotlights, with the beautiful pagoda on the hill behind the temple also a part of this spectacular show. It is worth spending a while walking around just to experience this from every imaginable angle.
There are also lanterns lighting up the street where most of the shops in Miyajima are located. An evening stroll here is indeed a very different experience than that of the daytime hours, where the sheer volume of people can almost make you feel like you’re in the middle of Shibuya crossing at times. The fact that you will stumble across sleepy deer here and there in the middle of this magical experience makes it feel even more unreal.
If you want to get the best possible experience of this spectacular view, we highly recommend that you hop onboard one of the many night cruises that are organized by local transport companies every evening. These usually take around 30 minutes and cost between 1,500 and 2,000 yen per person. Some of the cruises even pass under the majestic torii gate!
In case you’re not planning to stay all night on the island, it might be helpful to know that the last ferry back to Miyajimaguchi leaves at around 09:15pm. The exact time varies depending on whether it’s a weekday, weekend or public holiday, so make sure to check the timetable beforehand. Even though this island is a wonderful place to be, we doubt that you would like to end up stranded here and forced to stay until morning.