Skip to main content

Hiroshima Day 2: Miyajima

Hiroshima Adventure Day 2: Miyajima Edition.
Miyajima is an island a little ways away from Hiroshima, which is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine. It's simply..well, you'll see in the photos below (there will be many).

Miyajima isn't terribly difficult to get to since it's a huge tourist destination for foreigners and Japanese alike. It's a half-hour train ride to Hatsukaichi and then a fifteen minute ferry ride from there to the island.


We were greeted on the island by deer. Small, curious, perpetually hungry deer. They're so used to people that you can get right in their faces and the most they'll do is sniff you to see if you have food. Or paper...they ate paper too...



The shrine and it's immensely famous torii (gate) was a mere ten minute walk from the dock. Nick and I timed our arrival for around 11:30am which was the high-tide point; when the tide gets low you can walk all the way out to the torii but it's not quite as picturesque when the lower half is all mud-colored.






It was a huge tourist draw. There was one group of tourists with a selfie-stick that were all wearing "I Heart Miyajima" shirts and taking photos of themselves everywhere (so I took a photo of them):


The shrine itself is equally amazing: it sits above the water and is just a beautiful complex of orange pillars and wooden floors.






After wandering about the shrine and taking way too many photos of everything like the shameless tourists we were, Nick and I explored the rest of the island (not all of it--there's a mountain you can hike and and onsen which I'd LOVE to go back and see--they also light up the shrine and gate at night apparently). There was a random aquarium with lots of local sea life, such as oysters, and two massive, massive sea lions.



There were some lower-level nature trails as well, which we stumbled upon and took advantage of (that's the shrine from the top and a second, smaller pagoda tucked away amongst the trees).

But eventually the tide receded and Nick and I began retracing our steps (well, boat and train). But first we stopped in a small cafe where we sat next to another foreigner, a girl with blonde hair, who was working on her computer. Eventually she asked us where we were from (ah the bonding powers of English) and we found out that we ALL went to Yale. Katie is a rising senior architecture major in Calhoun who was in Japan for the summer doing research and interning. Go figure: small world galore.

The train rides back seemed twice as long as the ones there--particularly since they were twice as crowded. In both the bullet train and the Thunderbird there were tons of people standing in the aisles for hours (and that can't possibly be legal but that's the risk of purchasing an unreserved seat--sometimes there just aren't any). Nick and I were lucky and got to sit, if not next to each other, the majority of the time. And then it was back to Kanazawa and my host family. This was an amazing weekend trip and I definitely want to return to Hiroshima AND Miyajima to see what else they have to offer (and eat some more tempura!)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Final Touring Excursions

Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
The other cats often ran around chasing each other (one was a very energetic kitten, so he was always pouncing on the others) or flopping down to be pet in co…

Shibuya and Ebisu

The past few days I've been in the Shibuya and Ebisu areas (think: south-west side of Tokyo) to check out some of the up-and-coming cafes, as well as wander around the neighborhood. I've decided that wherever I go, I'm going to find something to do in addition to spending 3-5 hours in coffee shops--while the research and the people I meet are incredible I do regret that I don't get to spend as much time exploring the other aspects of Tokyo. 
Yesterday in Shibuya I checked out The Local Coffee Stand, Coffeehouse Nishiya, and The Theater Coffee. The Local is a pretty unassuming space, even though it is on a main street. It's goal is to be the sort of jumping-off point for people just getting in to specialty coffee: they showcase beans from local roaster and run a website called "Good Coffee" in both Japanese and English to help people find "that local spot" in a neighborhood near to them. I'm including a link to the site, HERE. CLICK THIS.

Co…