Miyajima Island in a wheelchair: An Accessibility Review

Miyajima, a small island just outside of Hiroshima, is one of Japan’s most beautiful sites. The island’s official name is Itsukushima, but it is commonly referred to as Miyajima (Jap. ‘shrine island’). Maybe you have already seen pictures of a Red Torii (a traditional Japanese gate) that seems to emerge from the ocean? The famous Great Torii belongs to the Itsukushima Shrine, the major sight on the island. Another popular attraction is the deer that freely lives on the island. You can see the deer literally everywhere!


Great Torii Miyajima Japan | Little Miss Turtle

The Great Torii on Miyajima Island | April 2018


We spent one full day on Miyajima during a four-day stay in Hiroshima on our trip through Japan this spring. So we had enough time to explore the streets and to visit the major tourist sights. Let me tell you about Miyajima’s wheelchair accessibility!


JR West Miyajima Ferry

You can easily reach Miyajima by ferry. The ride with the JR West Miyajima Ferry takes about 10 minutes, and a round-trip costs 360 Yen for an adult (180 Yen for a child). It is good to know that both the Japan Rail Pass and the JR West Rail Pass already include the ferry rides!


Wheelchair accessible JR West Miyajima Ferry | Little Miss Turtle

Wheelchair accessible JR West Miyajima Ferry at Miyajimaguchi (boarding area)


The first floor of the ferry is completely accessible for wheelchair users. There are dedicated sitting areas as well as accessible restrooms. I parked my wheelchair right next to a large window where I enjoyed watching the scenery on the way towards the island.


Barrier-free boarding zone | JR West Miyajima Ferry | Little Miss Turtle

Barrier-free boarding zone


Wheelchair space JR West Miyajima Ferry | Little Miss Turtle

Wheelchair space on the ferry


How to get from Hiroshima to the JR West Miyajima Ferry

The JR Sanyo Main Line connects Hiroshima to Miyajimaguchi. Take the Sanyo Main Line bound for Iwakuni and get off at the JR Miyajimaguchi Station. Wheelchair users can ask for help at the ticket gate of Hiroshima Station if needed. Staff members will then guide you to the platform and help you board the train. Upon arrival, another staff member will assist you in getting off the train. The one-way fare of 410 Yen per adult is covered by the Japan Rail Pass as well as the JR West Rail Pass.


Once arrived at the JR Miyajimaguchi Station, wheelchair users have to use the wheelchair-accessible route to the Miyajimaguchi Ferry Boarding Terminal. I recommend reading this detailed official guide that describes the very short stroll with lots of pictures.


Wheelchair-accessible attractions on Miyajima

After the short ferry ride, we finally arrived on Miyajima. I was especially excited about that place because of the deer and the magical pictures of the Great Torii I had seen on the Internet. After a short stop at the spacious accessible bathroom inside the terminal, we were ready to discover the island. The way to the Itsukushima Shrine and some other areas on the island are slightly graveled; however, the ground was easy to roll on.


Ferry Terminal on Miyajima Island | Little Miss Turtle

Ferry Terminal on Miyajima Island

Itsukushima Shrine

The Itsukushima Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is mostly known for the Great Torii that seems to float in the water during high tide. It is good to know that the Shinto shrine is wheelchair-accessible in most parts except for the Treasure Hall. There are entry and exit ramps, and the route that leads through the shrine is fully accessible. Although there is no accessible bathroom within the shrine itself, you can find one right next to the exit at Daiganji Temple.


On the way to Itsukushima Shrine | Little Miss Turtle

On the way to the Itsukushima Shrine


East Corridor of Itsukushima Shrine | Little Miss Turtle

The East Corridor of Itsukushima Shrine


Itsukushima Shrine | Miyajima Japan | Little Miss Turtle

Itsukushima Shrine during low tide | April 2018


Arched Bridge | Itsukushima Shrine | Little Miss Turtle

The Arched Bridge


Itsukushima Treasure Hall | Little Miss Turtle

Steps in front of the Itsukushima Treasure Hall


Daiganji Temple

The Daiganji Temple, also called Kikyozan Hokoin, is an ancient temple of Shingon Buddhism. It is located right next to the exit of the Itsukushima Shrine. The area is graveled, and some stone blocks on the ground can be bumpy to roll on for wheelchair users. As mentioned earlier, there is a wheelchair-accessible bathroom next to Gomado Hall.


Daiganji Temple | Miyajima | Little Miss Turtle

The Daiganji Temple


Gomado Hall of Daiganji Temple | Little Miss Turtle

Gomado Hall of Daiganji Temple


Kiyomori Shrine

On the way to the Kiyomori Shrine, we encountered deer – lots of deer. These little guys were pretty curious and hungry. Actually, they loved to eat our Edamame (Japanese green soybeans) as well as cherry blossoms. Unfortunately, I had to find out that the Kiyomori Shrine isn’t accessible because of some steps. Also, the shrine is rather small. The surrounding landscape, however, is wheelchair-friendly and worth seeing.


Miyajima deer | Little Miss Turtle

Miyajima deer eating cherry blossoms


Kiyomori Shrine | Little Miss Turtle

Kiyomori Shrine


Omoto Shrine & Omoto Park

Another magnificent place on Miyajima is Omoto Park. Giant fir trees are growing in the park, and it is also one of the best spots to see cherry blossoms in spring. Like everywhere else on the island, there are loads of deer running through the park. The lower areas of Omoto Park are wheelchair-friendly. Wheelchair users can find an accessible public bathroom at the park entrance. The Omoto Shrine inside the park can only be seen from the outside. A red wooden horse is standing inside the shrine.


Omoto Shrine in Omoto Park | Little Miss Turtle

Omoto Shrine in Omoto Park


Omoto Park | Miyajima | Little Miss Turtle

Deer in Omoto Park


Itsukushima Shrine Town

The Itsukushima Shrine Town is a shopping area with lots of souvenir shops, boutiques, restaurants, and food stalls. We enjoyed strolling through the area and tasted typical Miyajima sweets shaped like maple leaves. On the way leading back to the ferry terminal, you can get nice views of the Itsukushima Shrine and its Great Torii, as well as of the sadly not wheelchair-accessible Five Storied Pagoda. There are ramps for wheelchair users on the way through the shrine town. After a great day on the island, we headed back to our hotel in Hiroshima.


Way to Itsukushima Shrine Town | Little Miss Turtle

Way to the Itsukushima Shrine Town


Five Storied Pagoda | Miyajima | Little Miss Turtle

Five Storied Pagoda on Miyajima Island



To sum things up, I would definitely recommend Miyajima Island to wheelchair users. The landscape is stunningly beautiful, and the major attractions are accessible. The global accessibility is more than good for such a small island. Lots of efforts have been made to create an accessible environment for visitors in wheelchairs. The only unfortunate thing for me is that the ropeway to the top of Mount Misen isn’t accessible.




Did this post grow your interest in exploring Miyajima on a future trip to Japan? Help to spread the word and let other travelers know about the island’s accessibility! Have you already been to Miyajima? Do you have any tips to add?
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