Japan – Miyajima

Miyajima is an island off of the mainland, not far from Hiroshima. It was about an hour train ride and a 20 minute ferry ride to get to it. This photograph of the floating torii, which stands 53 ft high, and the Itshkushima-jinja is one of the most photographed tourist attractions in Japan. It is considered one of the three greatest scenic spots for all of Japan.

The Itsukushima-Jinja shrine is built on piers due to the island’s holy status. Commoners were not allowed to set foot on the island and had to approach the island by passing through the torii by boat to gain access to the shrine. I must note that it is both the gate and shrine only “float” during high tide. The rest of the time, they are surrounded by mud and sand!

From the ferry, we walked through the town which as usual, was full of souvenir shops and restaurants. We passed on visiting the Itsukushima-Jinja Shrine as it was very crowded and opted to visit the Daishoin Temple further up the mountain.

The Daishoin Temple was nestled among the trees and had several adorable small, round-faced, monk statues throughout the grounds. There was a prayer service being conducted while we were there, so we walked around listening to the bell tolling, monks chanting and drums beating. It just added to the ambiance. Walking out of the temple area, to the right were several small statues. There was a map with numbers on each statue. I tried to find out what they represented but didn’t have much luck. Possibly it is a cemetery….I don’t know, but it was interesting. One of the statues, that I really liked had his arms in the air as if he was saying “whatever!”.

From the temple, we decided to climb Mt Misen which is about 1600 ft high. They had a cable car going to the top, but being a nice Sunday afternoon, we figured it would extremely crowded. This was an excellent way to avoid the crowds and enjoy our surroundings. It was quite a hike…hot and humid with many, many stairs….It took us about two hours but the views were rewarding and the solitude welcoming.

After a brief rest at the top and getting my book signed at the shrine there, we headed down the mountain. We took a different path down, but it was just as strenuous.

We ended the day doing a few of the souvenir shops and then hopped the ferry back to the mainland. Dinner was at a restaurant near the Hon-dori (covered mall) area. It was a seafood restaurant, which Hiroshima is noted for. We had our own little booth that was completely enclosed. The menu was in Japanese with pictures…so we pointed to what we wanted and hoped for the best. We ordered rice, udon (thick) noodles, fried oysters, grilled fish, salad with raw seafood and a glass of wine. The total bill was $35.00. Oh, that reminds me, you are not expected to tip in Japan…which was kind of nice, for a change!

We walked 14 miles and 28,756 steps today!

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