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Miyajima Travel Blog

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Floating Torii Gate from ferry (from Linda)

When we arrived, the ferry was just leaving, so we bought tickets for the next ferry in 15 minutes. We wandered around the little gift shop and had a quick snack before heading over. We hopped on the ferry and found seats inside, then moved outside to the railing so we could see the island and the famous Floating Torii Gate.

As we walked out of the ferry station, the first thing we noticed was the deer everywhere. Actually, I noticed a pretty rock outcrop with trees before I saw the deer. As we walked, we came upon deer everywhere. Most were looking for handouts. We kept walking along the coast to the Torii Gate. At low tide, you can walk out to the gate, but we were somewhere in the middle. I didn’t know if it was coming or going, but you could walk partway out there.

close up of Floating Torii Gate
We didn’t. We took some pictures and continued uphill. I turned back and saw a deer nosing around in someone’s bag on the ground while they were taking a picture. I laughed and tried to take a photo. As I snapped the picture, the deer succeeded in grabbing a plastic bag. Poor deer, it was their itinerary and maps, not food. Then I felt bad because other people saw this and ran to tell the people. I just took a picture and ran to catch up with my group.

We passed the Itsukushima Shrine and continued past touristy shops until we found a little ticket counter for the Ropeway. We bought tickets and got in line for the bus up the hill. I really didn’t know what this was. We waited about 15 minutes for the bus and then we got 4 of the last 6 seats on the bus.

Us by the Floating Torri Gate (from Linda)
Yay! Up the hill we went and then it was a mad dash to the ropeway line. Some of those old people can run fast!

The line for the ropeway moved quickly and soon our little group of 4 was ushered into a small car and away we went. It was about a 15 minute ride up the hill towards Mt. Misan. From there we climbed some steps and got in a larger car, a funicular, that held about 15 people for a 4 minute ride up. At the top, they had free storage lockers that we took advantage of in the little visitor center. Once outside again, we walked up to the overlook at took some pictures of the bay and islands. This was supposed to be a monkey sanctuary, but we didn’t see any.

We decided to start the hike to the top of Mt. Misan and see how difficult it was.

hiking up Mt. Misan (from Linda)
It was paved most of the way and somehow we all made it. Or so we thought. We had just reached the hall of the eternal flame. Apparently this flame has been burning for about 1200 years, since 806, or so they say. This flame was used to light the eternal flame at Hiroshima Peace Park. We continued uphill and finally reached the summit! We climbed the observatory, enjoyed the view, then headed back. We didn’t want to miss the last ropeway car to the bottom (a 5 pm), because we definitely didn’t want to hike all the way down. We took a different path down and went by the magical hole in the rock where the water level somehow responds to the changing tides. Not much to see.
ferry to Miyajima Island
Downward we went. We made good time going back and I was really surprised and proud of my aunt and uncle for both making that hike. We didn’t miss the last ropeway car, so we were happy.

The bus back down the hill wasn’t very full so I asked if I could sit in the front with the driver. I decided that this bus ride was almost as scary as those up Mt. Vesuvius and Machu Picchu. The road was narrow and windy. I decided to video tape the twisty road back. As we came barreling down the hill and around a corner, a van coming uphill suddenly appeared around a bend. We both slammed on our brakes. Whew! The van backed downhill to a small pullout to let us pass. Fun!

On the way back from the bus stop, we stopped in a few little stores. The deer seemed to know the island was shutting down for the night because they were headed up the hill.

Floating Torii Gate and Miyajima Island
At one store, as I waited for my cousin to shop, I looked at a little package with a maple leaf on it. I didn’t know what it was, but they were everywhere. The clerk said it was chocolate. Yum, so bought one. Oh my gosh, it was sooooo delicious! It was like a little sponge cake filled with chocolatey goodness. I immediately went and bought another. Then I noticed you could buy boxes of them. I bought a box of mixed ones for my parents and a box of chocolate ones for me. They were momiji manju and were a specialty of the island.

The stores were closing up, it was 6 pm, so we headed back to the ferry. I was happy to see chu-hi there, so I bought one for the ride home. We were all pretty exhausted on the ride back. Linda told how it is Japanese custom to bring gifts back to your coworkers as a way of thanking them to allow you time away from work and for the inconvenience it caused.

trees on rocks
I decided I should buy another package of those sweets for my coworkers (good thing I work in a small office!). Back on the mainland, the little shops were also closed. As we walked back to the streetcar stop, I noticed one shop still open. I picked up a package of mixed sweets but there was no shopkeeper. I thought about leaving money, but I didn’t have exact change. We waited a few minutes, and then we saw her running down the street. She felt so bad and was so thankful we waited. As I paid, she counted out ichi, ni, san, she… four of us. She disappeared behind the counter and popped up with 4 individual packets, one for each of us, as a way of thanking us for not stealing anything. So we enjoyed our little sweets on the street car. Mine was bean paste. Yum.

Even though we had walked a ton today, we decided to walk a few blocks to a little restaurant and get some Hiroshima style okonomiyaki and kushi. It was a tiny place but the food was really good. Even though we were tired, we walked back and had some drinks while watching the lights of Hiroshima through the hotel window.

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Floating Torii Gate from ferry (fr…
Floating Torii Gate from ferry (f…
close up of Floating Torii Gate
close up of Floating Torii Gate
Us by the Floating Torri Gate (fro…
Us by the Floating Torri Gate (fr…
hiking up Mt. Misan (from Linda)
hiking up Mt. Misan (from Linda)
ferry to Miyajima Island
ferry to Miyajima Island
Floating Torii Gate and Miyajima I…
Floating Torii Gate and Miyajima …
trees on rocks
trees on rocks
nevermind the sign...
nevermind the sign...
ancient bird feeders?
ancient bird feeders?
close up of Floating Torri Gate (f…
close up of Floating Torri Gate (…
sneaky deer stealing something fro…
sneaky deer stealing something fr…
pagoda and pines
pagoda and pines
pagoda and sakura
pagoda and sakura
ropeway to top
ropeway to top
ropeway looking back
ropeway looking back
Me by a rock on Miyajima (from Lin…
Me by a rock on Miyajima (from Li…
hard to get photos without tourist…
hard to get photos without touris…
view from top of ropeway
view from top of ropeway
rocks and scraggly trees
rocks and scraggly trees
there are supposed to be monkeys h…
there are supposed to be monkeys …
the start of the hike to Mt. Misan
the start of the hike to Mt. Misan
view of islands from hike
view of islands from hike
building with the eternal flame, s…
building with the eternal flame, …
rock slide
rock slide
tunnel on hike
tunnel on hike
view from top of Mt. Misan
view from top of Mt. Misan
Me on the very top of Mt. Misan (f…
Me on the very top of Mt. Misan (…
looking back at mainland
looking back at mainland
deer made the hike, too
deer made the hike, too
resting at the top of Mt. Misan
resting at the top of Mt. Misan
cool rocks
cool rocks
Me looking in the magical hole in …
Me looking in the magical hole in…
the flame has been burning for 120…
the flame has been burning for 12…
giant wood carvings (dont know ho…
giant wood carvings (don't know h…
deer following tourists
deer following tourists
I liked these so much apparently I…
I liked these so much apparently …
floating Torii Gate near sunset
floating Torii Gate near sunset
cant resist these photo ops!
can't resist these photo ops!
delicious sweets from Miyajima!
delicious sweets from Miyajima!
Miyajima
photo by: liekevo