Pet Some Wild Deer
There are deer all over the island. They are tame and friendly and will only bother you for food. But beware, feed them once and they will be following you around the rest of your visit. The deer are said to be sacred and holy, and messengers of the Gods according to the Shinto Religion.
Visit the Itsukushima Shrine in Miyajima
Even if you have never been to Japan, you probably will have seen the floating torii of the Itsukushima shrine somewhere. As usual, the torii marks the entrance to a sacred Shinto site, in this case the Itsukushima shrine. The whole complex is built on poles in the water and will appear floating at high tide.
At low tide, the water will recede back far enough so you can actually walk straight up to the big red Torii gate. Take your time walking around the extensive bridges and outbuildings of the shrine. At high tide, you will be able to get on a boat to get closer to the Torii.
Visit Miyajima History and Folklore Museum
Miyajima History and Folklore Museum exhibits about 1,000 artifacts and documents of historical importance related to the history and culture of Miyajima, as well as historic figures like Taira no Kiyomori.
There are Japanese gardens as well, so it is a great place to get a grasp of traditional Japan. You can find exhibitions on a variety of documents, such as the detailed history of Taira no Kiyomori, some footage, and a chronological table that explains the history of how Miyajima became a World Heritage Site.
Visit Daisho-in Temple
Just south of town at the foot of Misen, Daishō-in is a worthwhile stopping point on the way up or down the mountain. This Shingon temple is crowded with interesting things to look at: from Buddhist images and prayer wheels to sharp-beaked tengu (bird-like demons) and a cave containing images from each of the 88 Shikoku pilgrimage temples. Daishō-in is a 15-minute walk from the ferry terminal; it is another 90 minutes if you intend to hike to Misen's summit.
Climb Mount Misen
Mount Misen is the island’s tallest mountain. It gives you great views of the island and sits amongst the forest of trees. You can hike to the top or ride the ropeway to the observation deck. There are three different hiking paths you can take on this island, The Momijidani Course, the Daisho-in Course and the Omoto Course. Each of the courses takes you up Mount Misen and is about a two hour trek.
The ropeway can be taken for a small fee and is about a 20 minute ride to top, but once at the top there is still a bit of walking to get you to the observation deck. Along the trails or at the top, you may be greeted by the occasional monkey or deer at this site.
Browse Local Goods at Omotesando Shopping Street
This is Miyajima’s main drag, and the best place to try and buy momiji manju, the aforementioned leaf cakes, as well as other souvenirs, like torii-shaped keychains and yuzu dressing.
Omotesando street is also where you can find the world’s largest rice scoop. A delicacy not to be missed is nigiri ten, savory fish paste that is either grilled, steamed, or roasted and served skewer-style on a small wooden stick. Fish paste skewers are available all over Japan, but Miyajima’s nigiri ten are famous for their wide variety of flavors, including cheese, scallion, and bacon.