Covered with primeval forest, the sacred, peaceful Misen is Miyajima's highest mountain (530m), and its ascent is the island's finest walk. You can avoid most of the uphill climb by taking the two-stage ropeway with its giddying sea views, which leaves you with a 30-minute walk to the top, where there is an excellent observatory.
At the summit observatory, you can kick off your shoes and laze on wooden platforms while enjoying 360-degree views – on clear days you can see across to the mountain ranges of Shikoku.
Close to the summit is a temple where Kōbō Daishi meditated for 100 days following his return from China in the 9th century. Next to the main temple hall is a flame that's been burning continually since Kōbō Daishi lit it 1200 years ago. From the temple, a path leads down the hillside to Daishō-in and Itsukushima-jinja. The descent takes a little over an hour, or you can take the ropeway back down. While on the mountain you might see monkeys and deer around the ropeway station.
The ropeway station (Momiji-dani Station) to ascend Misen is about a 10-minute walk on from Momiji-dani-kōen, or a few minutes on the free shuttle bus, which runs every 20 minutes from a stop near Iwasō Ryokan.