A short ride from Hiroshima across the Seto Inland Sea, Miyajima quite literally means “Shrine Island.”

The spectacular red torii gate, built on tidal sands, faces the majestic Itsukushima shrine at the foot of Mount Misen. As the tide comes, sweeping under and around the ancient shrine, the torii appears to float on the sea.

Though Miyajima can easily be visited as a day trip, we recommend an overnight stay in one of the island’s superb ryokan or guest houses.