Year after year Miyajima is becoming a more and more popular tourist destination, with a record 3,630,000 people visiting the island last year, and more expected in 2012 as a result of increased interest due to the current NHK Taiga Drama, Taira Kiyomori. While this news will have island shopkeepers rubbing their hands with glee, it may bring on Road Rage in those who have been stuck in traffic on Route 2 while trying to get to, or beyond, the Miyajima-guchi ferry terminal during any of the major holiday periods. In an attempt to reduce congestion over the coming Golden Week holiday, Hiroshima Prefecture is giving a Park & Ride scheme a go.
During the main holiday between May 3 and May 6, a total of 850 parking spaces will be set aside on the north side of Hiroshima Station (mountain side) and Hiroshima Port in Ujina. The 480 spaces next to Hiroshima Station are free and will be open between 9am and 6pm, but visitors have get their cars in by 2pm. The 370 spaces at Hiroshima Port are open 24 hours, but use is limited to people who access Miyajima by high speed ferry (passengers will be given a free parking pass when buying their ferry ticket).
Over in Hatsukaichi, 600 parking spaces will be made available at the Hatsukaichi Water Purification Plant (jyouka-sentaa) and there will be a shuttle bus between there and the Hatsukaichi City Hall streetcar stop. This parking is free and open 10am-6pm, with admission possible until 3pm. A shuttle bus will also link Miyajima-guchi with Chupi Park where 430 spaces will be available (at ¥1000 a pop). The Chupi Park Park and Ride will also operate April 28-30.
A flyer with conditions, maps and shuttle bus times etc (in Japanese) is available here (PDF).
This seems like a good move, and should help out out-of-town visitors. Locals will no doubt continue using the unofficial Park & Ride, leaving their cars at Fuji Grand in Ajina and taking the streetcar from there.
View Miyajima Park & Ride in a larger map