All you Need to Know About Miyajima at New Year

A few tidbits of info that we hope will make your New Year jaunt to Miyajima a memorable one.

Thousands upon thousands of people visit Miyajima over the New Year holidays. It is, of course, crowded, but there is a great atmosphere and it can be great fun to throw yourself into the throng. The great thing about Miyajima is that no matter how many people squeeze into the most popular part of the island, it is relatively easy to find a quiet backstreet or corner in which to chill out.

Before we dive in, however, let’s address the elephant in the room. This year, visitors won’t be able to enjoy the view of Miyajima’s iconic “floating shrine gate” as it is still undergoing renovations at will be covered in sheeting.

Though it does look quite interesting at night…

If you are going to do Miyajima at New Year, why not go hardcore and do it on the night of New Year’s Eve? Special ferry and bus services make it possible to check out the Chinkasai Fire Festival early in the evening of New Year’s Eve, hit a few parties in Hiroshima city, call in at Gokoku Shrine and get back to visit Itsukushima Shrine, and even get to the top of Misen to greet the first sunrise of the year. Although, you may need another holiday after all that.

Making the first shrine visit of the year at Itsukushima Shrine is the first order of business for most Japanese visitors to Miyajima, and you can expect looooong lines. You may find yourself waiting up to 2 hours.

There is plenty of other stuff going on to keep you entertained, however, and, our advice is to go with the flow (of the crowds) and enjoy the festival atmosphere.

Getting to Miyajima at New Year

Special New Year’s Eve Trains

Shiraichi → Saijo → Hiroshima → Miyajima-guchi → Iwakuni
Shiraichi

[白市]

Saijo

[西条]

Hiroshima

[広島]

Miyajima-guchi

[宮島口]

Iwakuni

[岩国]

00:05 00:15 01:00 01:28 01:52
    01:45 02:13 02:37
    02:45 03:13 03:37
    03:45 04:13 04:37
    05:00 05:28 05:52

 

Iwakuni → Miyajima-guchi → Hiroshima → Saijo  → Shiraichi
Iwakuni

[岩国

Miyajima-guchi

[宮島口]

Hiroshima

[広島]

Saijo

[西条]

 

Shiraichi

[白市]

00:51 01:15 01:43    
01:36 02:00 02:28    
02:21 02:45 03:13    
03:06 03:30 03:58    
03:51 04:15 04:50 05:27 05:37

 

Ferries between Miyajima-guchi and Miyajima Island

miyajima ferry and great torii gate

JR and Matsudai ferries run every 10-15 minutes on New Year’s Eve and through the night into New Year’s Day.

 

Miyajima New Year Tide Times

Time your visit to catch the glorious sight of Itsukushima Shrine “floating” on the sea at high tide as well as at low tide when you can walk right out to the torii gate.

Date High Tides Low Tides
12/30 12:25 23:53 09:27 18:27
12/31 13:00 06:24 19:05
1/1 00:40 13:35 06:59 19:46
1/2 01:24 14:15 07:38 20:37
1/3 02:20 15:02 08:25 21:39
1/4 03:39 16:03 09:31 22:53

 

Opening Hours

New Year is big business on Miyajima so there will be many people willing to take your money off you. As well as the usual shops, cafes and restaurants there are lot of temporary stalls hawking all kinds of food.

Itsukushima Shrine

  • 12/31  06:30-17:00
  • 1/1 24:00-18:30
  • 1/2  06:30-18:30
  • 1/3 06:30-17:30
  • 1/4~  06:30-17:30

Daishoin Temple

Jyoya-no-kane ringing of the temple bell 108 times (to represent 108 worldly desires) is conducted at Daishoin Temple. The first 108 people in line get to do the honors, but you’ll have to be lining up at around 9pm to have a shot at getting a spot. The bell is rung 107 times in the run up to midnight, and one, final time, as the New Year begins, providing event one with a fresh, worldly desire-free, start. People start lining up at about 9pm to secure a turn.

  • 12/31  06:30-24:00
  • 1/1 24:00-19:00
  • 1/2-4 06:30-18:30

New Year Rituals at Itsukushima Shrine

Miyajima Ropeway

  • Open from 05:00 on New Year’s Day.
  • Note that the first shuttle bus to the ropeway station isn’t until 09:20 on 1/1.

Miyajima Aquarium

  • Open as usual 09:00-17:00 daily.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

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