Miyajima will always have a special place in my heart. Yes, the island, features one of Japan’s most legendary sites, the Floating Tori, plus lots of temples and the view from Mount Misen. But what made it really really special and unforgetable, I ran into friend from back home.
I travelled there by tram in less than an hour, a short ferry shuttle took me to straight to the island. Even from the ferry I spotted the Floating Tori ,which during high tide seems to float on the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan’s three best views.
The hords of Japanese tourists pouring from the ferry are met by an unsual welcome committee, plenty of deer wandering around the streets, staring at the new arrivals, pulling on their bags and forcing themselves into group photos.
I found a nice ryokan, a traditional hotel, near the ferry landing. It was the best decision to stay overnight, most people only spend the day there. In the evening is becomes much quieter and more peaceful. Japanese Folks walk around wrapped in the small kimono, the Yukata, and marvel at the lit Floating Tori.
In the morning the same people head out there again, with the low tide you can walk up to the very tori.
I explored pretty much everything on foot, like ” the pavilion of 1000 mats”. The name describes the spaciousness of Senjokaku Hall, part of a Hokoku Shrine,
Tired of walking I took a funicular up to Mount Misen, with 500m above sea level is the highest peak on Miyajima. Unfortunately it was cloudy and hazy, on clear days you can see as far as Hiroshima City.
The evening I relaxed in the spa of my ryokan. No matter how hard, slowly and long I tried, I simply could enter the scorching hot pool. It still don’t know how the Japanese ladies slid in without screaming with pain. I loved the ritual though, sitting on super small stool , cleaning yourself, marking your slippers and wearing the small kimono that the hotel provides for you.
Surfing on facebook late at night a noticed a posting of a Viennese friend where he mentioned Miyajima Island. I wrote back “Do you mean Miyajima Island, near Hiroshima?” He did. He had visited that day but gone back to Hiroshima. Needless to say, we met the very next day in Hiroshima. Norbert and his Japanese wife spend every holiday in Japan, so he was an expert on local cuisine, and it was just to absolute thrilling to meet a friend that way in a place to far from home.