Iwaso is a wonderful historical ryokan located on the island of Miyajima that has been watching over this great island for over 160 years.
Miyajima is probably one of my favorite places in all of Japan, and I have been there many times before. But this was the first time I stayed the night in this great place, and it truly made the visit much better.
Iwaso is located roughly in the center of Miyajima town but is still surrounded by green nature. You can reach it in about 10 minutes walk after you get off the ferry. They also offer a shuttle bus to pick you up at the ferry to drive you directly to the ryokan. From the ryokan, you can also take a bus up to the ropeway station, so it’s well connected to many places on the island.
Many of you know how much I love Miyajima and how I always recommend it to everyone. But honestly, staying the night on the island is probably one of the best experiences I had on my last trip across Japan.
You see, Miyajima changes completely after the last ferry leaves. All the masses of tourists are gone, and people slowly settle into their homes or hotels. A new atmosphere settles on the island as all the streets and interesting places on the island suddenly feel almost abandoned compared to what was there just an hour earlier.
I loved so much wandering across the island, meeting random deer in small alleys after sunset, and walking on the shores of the island with the beautiful night sky above. Truly something I will never forget. That’s why I love that I had the chance to stay at the historic Iwaso ryokan, which was first opened for business in 1854!
I arrived in the ryokan after a day of sightseeing on the island. The staff members were very polite; they showed me to my room and explained everything.
The room is a traditional Japanese room with tatami mats and futons to sleep on. It has all you would expect from such a place.
I was lucky enough to get one of the corner rooms, and I had a beautiful view of the town below. I could even see the famous pagoda that was located at the top of the hill and the adjacent Senjokaku pavilion.
Truly it was a sight to behold. The other window looked through to the forest, and it was a good place to sit and relax.
As I was finishing my night walk around the island, I was already looking forward to the next thing, the hot bath! I am sure many of you know how much I love to relax in hot springs after a day of sightseeing.
Iwaso ryokan, of course, has both a wonderful indoor and outdoor bath. The indoor one is quite spacious, and there’s plenty of room for many people there. I stayed there a bit before heading out to the outdoor bath. This one was even better!
I love how the outdoor bath was located right at the bottom of the valley, right next to the forest. I felt like I was bathing in a natural bath in a natural hot natural somewhere in the wilderness.
Staff members say that it is even possible to see deer right next to you in the forest as you bathe since there are so many of them on the island. Luckily there is a wooden fence between you so don’t be afraid! I had a great time at the baths, and I highly recommend you try this if you come here.
I made my way back to the room and went to bed for the day. Tomorrow morning I will have breakfast in the ryokan. Of course, it was a traditional Japanese breakfast with all the staple dishes you would expect as well as many seasonal ingredients. I was lucky to try things such as miso soup, omelet, grilled, fish, rice, appetizers, etc.
After eating, I headed back to the room to relax a bit and enjoy the view before packing up my stuff and checking out.
During the entire stay, the staff members were very polite and helpful, and they made me truly feel at home. They even offered to arrange a shuttle bus for me to take me directly to the ferry so I could catch it in time. However, I politely refused because there were a few more things I wanted to see on the island.
You see, the ryokan is located right on the edge of the town. There are many hiking paths that lead up to Mount Misen from the ryokan, and I wanted to explore them a bit. During the short hike, I saw many beautiful ravines, hidden shrines, and random deer wandering around the Momiji forest.
There are so many interesting bridges going over the riverbed as well. So many things to explore! It truly felt like a place from a fairy tale or a Ghibli movie.
So that is why I always recommend someone to visit Miyajima. You have wonderful monuments such as the Itsukushima shrine and the Senjokaku pavilion, fun wandering deer, and beautiful nature with ancient forests crisscrossed by hiking trails.
And I suggest you hike these trails and go up the mountain to enjoy the view of Hiroshima and the Seto Inland Sea.
This island is something you have to see for yourself. There’s so much to do here. So I recommend you to stay at least one night at the Iwaso ryokan, and you can experience what this paradise on Earth has to offer. Check out their website if you want to learn more.