Ecotour Site - Miyajima

Miyajima (Itsukushima) is an island located in the eastern part of the Seto Inland Sea, 2 km off the coast of Ohno City, Hiroshima. Miyajima is recognized as one of three major tourist spots in Japan.  Itsukushima Shrine and Mount Misen are known for the legend of Kukai, the grand master who propagated Buddhist teaching, as well as splendid arts, crafts and architectures from the Heian period to the Edo period (8-19th centuries). Numerous national treasures and national important cultural properties in Miyajima Island constitute an important part of national cultural heritage.

In 1996, Itsukushima Shrine was listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.  In July 2012, Miyajima Island (Itsukushima) was also designated as a Ramsar Site since the brackish tidal marshes on the island provide an ideal habitat for endangered and endemic “Miyajima dragonflies”.  Miyajima is the only site in the world where this subspecies has been recorded.

(Constitution or contents of the activities, shipping routes, and ports will be decided when a new ecotour plan is provided.)



Vessel tour to the 7 shrines

Visiting a shrine on shore

Observation and collection of garbage on the beach

Observation of bizarre rocks

Viewing a shrine from a vessel

Bento lunch (grilled conger)


Observation of wild deer

Visiting marine caves

Visiting a shrine by boat


Observation of brackish plants

(beach vitex)


Tour by a professional guide

Observation of oyster floats

Observation of intertidal organisms (fiddler crabs)

Walking around the old town

Nana Ura Meguri - A Tour to the Seven Shrines

The First Place: Sugino-ura Shrine

Sokotsuwatatsumi-no-mikoto is enshrined. In Sugino-ura, there is a 'Contribution Forest of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage'.  The trees were planted in the forest to supply for barks necessary for thatch the roofs of the buildings of Istukusshima shrine.

Participants pray for the safety and accomplishment of this eco-tour to the seven shrines at this place.

The Second Place: Takanosu-ura Shrine

Sokotsutsu-no-o-no-mikoto is enshrined. The shrine was originally built at Takanosu-ura, however, due to the construction of a fortification at Takanosu-ura in 1898, the shrine was moved and rebuilt at Irihama.  In the mid-Meiji Era, the First Sino-Japanese War took place (1894-1895), and military headquarter was established in Hiroshima.  Therefore, Takanosu-ura was considered to be a route for enemy fleets during wartime.


The Third Place: Koshiboso-ura Shrine

Nakatsuwatatsumi-no-mikoto is enshrined. 
A 50 m wide sand coast stretches 85 m from east to west. The shrine is built on top of the 1.8 m high stone wall.

 The Fourth Place: Aonori-ura Shrine


Nakatsutsu-no-o-no-mikoto is enshrined.  

Aonori-ura is the river mouth of the Aonori River.  Takayasu-ga-hara where Sue Harukata, a feudal warlord in the 16th century, committed suicide is located at the upstream of the river.  We can go to Tatara-gata over the mountain.


The Fifth Place: Yamashiro-hama Shrine


Uwatsuwatatsumi-no-mikoto is enshrined. The shrine is built on a hill of large rocks.


The Sixth Place: Suya-ura Shrine


Uwatsutsu-no-o-no-mikoto is enshrined. 
The shrine building is surrounded by an evergreen broadleaf forest.  It is said that there was a spring called ‘Suya-no-shimizu’ known for its high-quality water.  A sandbank is formed along the seashore, and halophytes such as beach vitex (Vitex rotundifolia) can be seen there.  

The Seventh Place: Mitoko Shrine


This shrine is dedicated to the three goddesses, collectively known as Munakata Sanjoin; Ichikishimahime-no-mikoto, Tagorihiime-no-mikoto, and Tagitsuhime-no-mikoto. 
According to legend, Saeki-no-kuramoto who received the will of Ichikishimahime-no-Mikoto, had built a temporary palace for the goddesses until the Itsukushima Shrine was built.  It is said that the design of the Shinto emblem of the Itsukushima Shrine was inspired by the crack seen on the huge rock used for the foundation of the shrine building.

Itsukushima Shrine

The final destination of the Nana-ura-meguri is Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage site.  

At low tide, we can walk to the Grand Torii Gate.  At high tide, the magnificent shrine buildings and the Grand Torii Gate appear to be floating in the sea.  

It is considered that such unique architectures were inspired by Japanese thoughts on nature.  

Koshiboso-ura Beach

Koshiboso-ura beach was formed by sand brought from rivers running through Mt. Koshiboso (226.4 m) and its mountain ranges.  These rivers flow into the Itsukushima Strait, where Koshiboso-ura is located.  The influence of the receding tide is strong in the river mouth, and the tide pushes the river water toward the southwest.  On the other hand, the rivers flowing into Koshiboso-ura are not affected by receding tides and make a curve to the east.  It is considered that an islet (27.3 m) formed in the eastern part of the bay works as a shield and reduces the receding energy transmission.
This 50 m wide beach stretches 85 m from east to west.

Aonori-ura Beach

With a length of 3 km, the Aonori River drains in Miyajima Town and empties into Aonori-ura Beach. Downstream the river is surrounded by Mt. Aonori (282.28 m) in the west and Mt. Rouzu (191.3 m) in the east.  The river flows slightly toward the southeast in this area.  Because of the development of a sandbar, an outlet of the river is formed at the south side of the mountains.   The total length of the sandbar is about 113 m, and the width of the sandbar around the Aonori-ura Shrine (the fourth shrine of the pilgrimage) is about 65 m.
The valley behind Aonori-ura is comparatively small, and it is considered that the sand beach was formed by the coastal current.
At the southwestern side of the Aonori Coast, there is a rock with traces of wave erosion.  An overhang of the rock is about 1.5 m.  As the total height of the rock is about 3 m from the riverbed, it is considered that the sea level was higher in the past.
Aonori-ura is a habitat for milky fiddler crabs (Uca lactea lactea), marine mud snails (Reticunassa festiva), and other species.