The floating gate

Another exciting day here in Japan, and probably one of the best experiences I had so far. I woke up around 7am, pretty early. But I went early to bed the day before and when considering that I usually have to wake up at 5am, it is still kind of late. Anyway, I made myself ready to go, had a small breakfast, checked out and headed straight to Hiroshima station. Unfortunately, I missed the train to Miyajimaguchi station. Therefore, I needed to wait around 25 minutes for the next one. There are two ways of going to Miyajima island. One option is to take the ferry straight from Hiroshima peace park. It takes around 45 minutes by ferry to arrive at the island. A one-way ticket would cost 2000-yen, a round trip around 3600-yen, which is a reasonable price, but definitely not the cheapest option. The other option is to take the train to Miyajimaguchi station, which takes 25 minutes and then the ferry straight in 10 minutes to the island. This option costs together around 600 – 700 yen. I don’t really remember the exact amount. But I chose the second option, because my accommodation was located very close to the station anyway.

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When I arrived at Miyajimaguchi station, I walked straight to the port and took the next ferry. The view was amazing, and the weather couldn’t have been better. On the boat I met an American family. They were really nice and so interested about what I am doing here. Because we headed to the same destination, I met them like 10 times again on the island.

Miyajima island is popular for the floating gate. Therefore, I wanted to make sure, that I will see the “torii” during high tide, when it’s actually floating. Otherwise, the red gate is just standing there in the sand and you have the possibility to walk around it. I researched the day before when the low and the high tide is happening, and I was really lucky that the high tide was in the morning. Therefore, I picked just the perfect time to visit this iconic attraction.

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When arriving on Miyajima island I walked straight to the Itsukushima Shrine. I had to take the chance to walk in the sea along the little beach. I enjoyed it so much! It felt just like being on vacation. It was nice to forget a moment about the stress at work.

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Itsukushima Shrine was more beautiful and impressive than I expected it. It is just a different feeling when standing in front of it, rather than seeing it on pictures. The highlight were the deer, who are living around the whole island. So cute! Just like in Nara.

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After visiting the shrine, I headed up to Daishoin Temple, where you had already a beautiful view of the city. In general, was the temple area very pretty and unique. Especially the pathway with all these little sculptures wearing different coloured hats was insane. I have no idea what the history or the reason behind it is, but it looked just very cute.

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From the temple I headed directly to Momijidani cable car station. There is a free shuttle bus from the town up to the station, but it wasn’t worth it for me to walk everything back just to take the shuttle. Therefore, I just walked by myself through a forest pathway. Of course, I passed by many deer. When I arrived at the cable car station, I bought the ticket and took the next cable car going up to Mount Misen. And OMG, even the ride up to the mountain was beautiful. When you will ever go to Miyajima island, you have to visit Mount Misen. It is just stunning!

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The mountain is pretty high. That’s why you even have to change the cable car once, for security reasons. When I arrived at the top I was just amazed by the breath-taking view. So beautiful! But that’s not all! You can even walk another 30 minutes to the very highest point of the mountain. There is an observation deck, which I obviously needed to visit. The hike up is not that easy. Everyone was just breathing like seals. I really was impressed by how many granddaddies and grandmommies managed to hike all the way up to the top. And you don’t have to forget about the hot weather. But it’s absolutely worth it. You have a 360-degree view all over the island, the sea and Hiroshima. Beautiful!

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Because I didn’t have so much time left as I planned, I went as fast as possible the way up and took the cable car back. From there I made my way to the centre of Miyajima island. The restaurant and souvenir street were opened and very nice to look at. The most popular food to eat at Miyajima are Oysters. Nowhere else in Japan you can get such fresh oysters. It wasn’t actually the best season (winter) for the best quality of Oysters, but nevertheless I had to try some. I went to a restaurant which was recommended in the Lonely Planet travel book. I ordered the Oysters on rice and two grilled Oysters. And there very absolutely delicious. “Totemo Oyshii”!

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Afterwards I needed to try the special cake, formed as a Maple Leaf. If Miyajima island is popular for something, then for Momiji Manju. You can even watch them making the little cakes. There are different fillings you can choose from. Custard cream, Azuki (red bean paste) and chocolate. The traditional one is the Azuki filling. That’s why I decided to buy one of these. I got them fresh and warm from the bakery. There are super cheap (100 yen), very soft and delicious.

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From the food and shopping street I headed back to the ferry terminal to catch the next ferry and then the next subway back to Hiroshima island. It was already 2pm when I arrived there. I immediately bought another Shinkansen ticket, but not to Kyoto! I decided to make a little stop in Fukuyama! I felt like I have to make a stop on my way back. I don’t know if I will make my way down here again. The shinkansen ride to Fukuyama is super quick. From the station there I took the next bus heading to Tomonoura, a little fisher town on the coast.

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The bus ride took 30 minutes and to be honest, I don’t know if it was worth it to make such an effort just to visit this little town. There wasn’t really anything to see. No tourists at all, except two travellers sitting in a coffee shop. I went to one temple, which supposed to be very popular, because of a movie scene. The view from there was very pretty. Nevertheless, was Tomonoura kind of a dead city for me. Most of the shops and restaurants were closed, super less people around, the harbour pretty chaotic and in general just nothing to do. The lighthouse is the centre of the town, which looks pretty cute. And there is another temple Ioji temple, from where you have a nice view over the town. It was nice seeing a traditional little Japanese town, away from the touristy areas. But is it worth a trip? I am not sure. Therefore, I took after 1 hour already the next bus back to the station.

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From there I bought the next and the last shinkansen ticket. The next available one was at 6:05pm. Therefore, I decided to have dinner at the train station before I am going home. I was starving anyway. The food was delicious and quick. Just perfect!

On my way back on the shinkansen I met a guy from South-Africa, living in Hiroshima now. He is teaching English! It was super nice talking to him. We talked the whole shinkansen ride, until he left the train in Osaka. The time just flied! Nevertheless, I was very happy when arriving back in Kyoto. It was already dark outside and when you have in mind that you have to wake up the next day at 5am again, you aren’t looking forward to arriving late back home.

 

But I am so glad that I did this trip. I saw so many beautiful places, ate amazing food, got to know a different side of japan and definitely won a little distance to the daily work. It was definitely worth it!

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