Tuesday, September 20, 2016

To Hiroshima and Miyajima

We caught the 8.23am Shinkansen from Kyoto this morning and arrived in Hiroshima a bit after 10.30am. We're staying at the Granvia Hotel in Hiroshima which is located at the main railway station - so no difficulty finding it!

After unloading our bags at the hotel caught the train to Miyajima-guchi about 30mins south west of the city. From here it was only a short walk before we were on the ferry approaching Miyajima (Shrine Island).
 Those lines of netting in the sea are oyster beds......

Miyajima is most famous for its giant torii gate which at high tide seems to float on the water.
But our first goal on this island was to find lunch! We struck it lucky at a little Okonomiyaki joint in the main street of the Miyajima "pier".
Those are four big fat oysters (dusted with seaweed powder) on top of that cabbage, bean sprout, noodle, pancake & egg mixture - absolutely delicious -especially with bottle of Miyajima beer.

 Like the torii gate the Itsukushima Shrine's main buildings are built over water. 
As we walked up a slight hill just behind Itsukishima Shrine to get a better view of the Senjokaku Shrine's massive main hall we were quite amazed to see this landscape marvel. This gentleman was quietly trimming pine needles on this espaliered branch of a black pine tree. 
 ... to create this beautiful hedge - growing as a side branch from that 3-4 metre high black pine tree in the pic below!!

The massive wooden hall of the Senjokaku Shrine (dating back to 1587) is approx the size of 1,000 tatami mats.

From the small township we started walking deeper into the forest into the Momijidani Park lands (Japanese for "Maple Valley").  I was very impressed with these ryokans on the edge of the park....

We walked as far as the Momijidani "ropeway" and decided to catch the cable car ride up to the Shishi-iwa Observatory.

 From the Shishi-iwa Observatory we got spectacular views looking back to Hiroshima
 ...and out to the Seto inland sea - and all those islands!

You can see Mount Misen, the highest peak on the island in the pic below. It's about a kilometre walk (uphill) from where we are at the Shishi-iwa Observatory......we didn't make it that far today. This whole area is UNESCO world heritage listed, both for its prehistoric forests and for the island's cultural significance (ancient Buddhist sites).

The tide was very low as we were leaving Miyajima today - kinda spoiling the impact of the "floating" Itsukushima Torii Gate somewhat!
The wild deer of Miyajima are very comfortable living in amongst the shops and visitors.....

We didn't get back to the Hotel Granvia in Hiroshima until after 6.00pm. We left it too late and got lost anyway trying to find our way to where it was all happening in the city so ended up having a quiet night at the hotel (exhausted after another 17,000 steps today)!

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