Together with Matsushima (松島) and Amanohashidate (天橋立), Miyajima (宮島) is one of the three scenic views (日本三景) in Japan. It is regarded as the Island of God. I believed that many of you might have already seen the famous Otorii (大鳥居) in Miyajima, either in photos or for real. It is the very red door-like structure which soaks in the sea and baths in the sun. Having fascinated by its beauty, you might want to extend the pleasure and stay on the island. Umm… it can be a bit pricy for the fancy hotels. But you know what? The good news is, camping can be a great experience on the island as an alternative to the comfy hotels.  Alright, let’s start with a bit of Miyajima before going inside your tent.

Understand the Torii, enjoy the view at high tide and walk through it at low tide

Torii (鳥居) gates, literally means bird abode, are found at the entrance or inside a Shinto Shrine (神道神社) but not in the Buddist Temples. Torii is the gate which separates the human world and the sacred world. The Great Torii (Otorii) in Miyajima is part of the Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社). It is built at 200m away from the coastline in the sea in 1168. In the old time, the whole island of Miyajima was regarded as the holy island and only few selected people were allowed to visit.

The best time to visit Miyajima is at high tide (満潮) , when you can see the iconic Otorii bathing in the sea; and also at low tide (干潮), when you can actually walk through the Otorii. You would definitely want to stay for more than 6 hours to enjoy the best of both. Remember to check the Tide Timetable before you go! (ノ^∇^)ノ゚

Like Nara, wild deers are the holy citizens

Most people will think of the bowing deers of Nara when they think of deers in Japan. In fact, deers are the holy citizens in Miyajima as well! In Japan, deers are regarded as the incarnations or messengers of God. If you have watched “Princess Mononoke” (もののけ姫 Mononoke Hime) of Hayao Miyazaki, you should remember that the “Forest Spirit” (シシガミShishigami)was in the form of deer. So, holy deers are actually the perfect match with the holy island, aren’t they? ⤴︎ ε=ε=(ง ˃̶͈̀ᗨ˂̶͈́)۶ ⤴︎

However, looking at the poor little deers gazing at you, hoping that you will give them some food, we are actually not allowed to feed the deers there. This is as a result of a management plan to “let the wild deer live wild” after the locals showed concerns that the deers come to the town to look for food and cause problems of traffic. Many animal activists have regarded this as cruelty to animals. I felt sorry for the starving deers. (๑ ˊ͈ ᐞ ˋ͈ )ƅ̋ 

Enjoy the sunset looking at the Otorii, do a barbecue while camping, and interact with deers during night time

Instead of rushing to catch the last boat leaving the beautiful island, why not staying on the island, relaxingly looking at the sun going down the sea level, and take a walk along the seaside back to the place where you stay. On the island, there are many nice Japanese ryokan (hotel), in some of them, you can even enjoy a bath in the hot spring. For me, I doubtlessly enjoy taking a hot bath treat during winter time, but I would choose to do a camping on the island during summer season, and do a barbecue at night time being surrounded by the nature! ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ How about you?

On the island Miyajima, there is a campsite at Tsutsumigaru shizen kōen (包ヶ浦自然公園), a park which is 40 minutes on foot and 10 minutes by car  from the ferry pier. You can rent everything you need from tents to cooking utensils to food. There are unprepared food, barbecue package for selling. If you are not used to sleeping in a tent, there are also some cabins ready for rental. If you have your own tent, the campsite is around 500 yen per day. There are also the fixed tents which cost 2,800 yen for a 4-p tent and 4,800 yen for an 8-p tent per night.  All the information can be found on the Tsutsumigaru website.

And more excitedly, you will have free deer companions who will entertain you during your stay, to make sure that you are busy protecting your belongings. Be nice with your deer visitors (event though sometimes they may be a bit too naughty)! (≧∇≦)/

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