SUP is the best way to actively enjoy a trip to Miyajima.
Miyajima is very famous for the Itsukushima Shrine, which is one of the famous World Heritage Sites in Japan.
However, do you know that there is an activity which lets you experience the natural side of Miyajima?
The activity is called SUP, or Stand Up Paddle-boarding.
SUP is a marine sport, which originated in Hawaii.
You stand up on a floating board, and take a walk on the sea by paddling.
You should be able to paddle smoothly after taking a lesson for only a half day (although this differs from person to person).
One big attraction is that you can take pictures with the big Torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine while standing in the sea!
Many foreign visitors are experiencing this special tour these days.
Even 2 people can ride on the board together; and surprisingly, many people do Yoga on the board!
What a special experience…, Yoga on the water while embraced by the calm waves of the Setouchi Inland Sea…!
Men and women of all ages can enjoy SUP without any worries.
Shinichiro Ikeda, the representative of SUP Miyajima, started providing the SUP tours of Miyajima.
He used to be crazy about kayaking, and has visited very many seas and rivers all over Japan.
When he came back to Hiroshima, which is his hometown, he wondered why only a few people come to enjoy the sea even though it is very close.
And that was the reason he started SUP Miyajima, to help people become familiar with sea.
SUP is a sport which people of all ages can enjoy.
Actually, people in their seventies have experienced and enjoyed SUP before.
Kids under age of 10 also can enjoy it if a family member participates in SUP with them.
So, my son (6-years-old) and I experienced SUP together, and this was my son’s first experience of playing on the sea!
At first, my son was overpowered by the sea (because it is big and vast), but he discovered the fun of SUP in just a few minutes.
He kept saying “I wanna ride it!” and “I wanna paddle!”
We rode on the board together, but eventually, he could stand on the board by himself.
It is much easier to do SUP than I thought!
The places for an SUP lesson are “Tsutsumigaura,” a beach for sea-bathing in Miyajima; “Nishi-no-Matsubara” close to the shrine dedicated to Taira no Kiyomori (1118-1181, a military leader of the late Heian period, who established the first samurai-dominated administrative government in Japan); and so on.
The place for the lesson is decided depending on the weather and current on that day.
The picture above was taken at “Nishi-no-Matsubara.”
This is a good but little-known spot in Miyajima, where you can see the big Torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine in the distance.
“SUP is much, much easier than windsurfing or kayaking. This is the biggest appeal SUP,” says Ikeda.
You can rent all the gear and some swimwear, so all you need to bring is a change of clothes! However, make sure that whatever you are wearing is suitable for SUP (see the website for recommendations).
The tour will of course take you to around the Itsukushima Shrine and big Torii gate, and you can see this kind of mystic scenery above from an island close to Miyajima.
At first, please ask which tour you can attend depending on your physical strength, athletic ability, weather, and so on.
Address／977, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima
Nearest Station／The Miyajima Ferry pier. *The meeting-place will be decided after the application is made.
Charge／Half Day Tour (2-3 hours) 7,000 yen (Tax included)
One Day Tour (4-5 hours) 10,000 yen (Tax included)
*We can also deal with kayaking for the same charge. Please ask.
*The charge includes the rent of the board and insurance.
*Rental wear is available (NOT included the charge for the tours)
*There is no facility with showers for SUP Miyajima, therefore, we recommend you to prepare for SUP at the hotel you are staying at in Miyajima. If you are not staying at any hotel in Miyajima, inform SUP Miyajima and ask about the best spot for preparation when you make a reservation.
Photographs and text by Akiko Isonaga
Akiko IsonagaI was born and raised in Hiroshima, but my mother's hometown is on Kojima island, Ehime prefecture. When I was little, I used to climb up on the roof of an orange warehouse and gaze at the picturesque islands of Seto. They were really beautiful. Now that I'm a bit older, I’m happy to be able to spend time working as a photo-writer and conveying the beauty and charm of the Seto Inland Sea. As well as writing at home, I live a short walk from the World Heritage site of Miyajima, I also work as a teacher and am currently studying color psychology.
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