2013 Japanese Spring – Day 7 : Miyajima

After breakfast, we checked out to make our way to Hiroshima.  The subway from Namba to Shin Osaka was crowded in the morning rush hour.  However, it wasn’t as bad as Tokyo subway rush hour crowds.

Boarded the Shinkansen Nozomi 9 train from Shin-Osaka.  The fare was expensive, more than ¥10,000 per person one way which was the reason we bought the Sanyo Area Pass.

And we are on our way!!

We passed through mountainous terrain and numerous tunnels. Like the railways, Japan’s roads are very well maintained.

Arrived at Hiroshima just past 11am and proceeded to our hotel, Hotel Granvia.  The hotel is located just outside Hiroshima Station which is the main transport hub to get around Hiroshima.  Read more about my stay at the hotel here.  We were not able to check in yet, so we left our luggage at the hotel before setting off to Miyajima.

Miyajima is a small island less than an hour outside the city of Hiroshima.  It is most famous for its giant ‘floating’ torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine.

Caught the JR Sanyo Line from Hiroshima station to Miyajimaguchi station.

From there it was a short walk to the ferry terminal where we boarded the JR ferry to the island. The ferry ride cost ¥170 per person one way, but we did not need to pay as it was covered by the Sanyo Area pass.

After about ten minutes on the ferry, we caught sight of this…

Deers roam freely in this island too especially from the ferry pier all the way towards Itsukushima Shrine.

Our first stop – lunch in one of the many restaurants along Omotesando shopping street.

After filling our tummies, we started exploring.  Passed by this stall selling barbequed oysters.  Oysters are the island’s speciality.

Another thing Miyajima Island is famous for its wooden rice scoops.  Here is a giant version…..

 We then proceeded to the bus stop for the free bus ride to the Momijidani Ropeway (cable car) station. We went all the way to Shishiwa station.

From the station, we walked to Shishiiwa Observatory for a panoramic view of the islands.

We then hiked to Mt. Misen which according to the signpost is 20min from the observatory. We took almost 40min as the climb was steep.

The easy part of the trail

On the way, we stopped to admire the breathtaking scenery that was before us.

This was where we came from – Shishiwa station.

We finally reached our destination after walking for 40min :).  First stop, The Reikado Hall – this is where the eternal flame is located.

This flame has been burning for more than 1,200 years.  It was also used to light up the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park.

A plague with a short explaination of the flame

Located opposite Reikado Hall is Misen Hondo (Misen Main Hall)

A monk chanting inside the hall

We then made our way back to the ropeway station and descended Mt. Misen.  We then visited Itsukushima Shrine and waited for sunset.  Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The shrine complex consists of various shrines, a prayer hall, a main hall and a noh theater stage.

Marodoharaiden (Purification Hall), Itsukushima Shrine

Visitors to the shrine can walk in the grounds of the shrine during low tide.

As we exit the shrine, we walked past Daiganji Temple.  This temple used to be in charge of the repair and construction of Itsukushima Shrine.

By 6pm, most tourists have left the island.  Visitors who stayed longer will witness these amazing sights.

With temperatures plummeting to below 10°C we left just after 7.30 pm and made our way back to Hiroshima for dinner.

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