The Great Torii Gate of Miyajima

The shinkansen took us quickly to Hiroshima. Since we weren’t staying in the centre, we had to take a local train to Hiroshima Bay. We were staying at a homestay (someone’s house) because we wanted to hike up Mount Misen on a nearby island, Miyajima (also known as Itsukusima).

The following day, our host drove us and another guest to the ferry port and, in next to no time, we’d sailed across to the island.

Without much ado, we started the hike straight away. It was about a 500m ascent. We wanted to return for high tide, when a famous torii gate and its temple are partially under water.

There was an option to take a ropeway to ascend most of the mountain. We ignored it but did laugh at this sign:

The hike was a bit rocky but mainly straightforward.

At one point, when you see a temple, you think you’ve reached the top.

There are also signs to paths that go back to the harbour. However, the viewpoint is slightly further up. When you reach the top, there are fantastic views across to the mainland and surrounding area.

On the way down I saw a young Indian woman urging her mother on to finish the climb. She said, “It’s just over there”. Her mother wasn’t falling for it: “Over there could mean anything!”, she replied. At that point, I said, “It’s about 10 minutes” and she joked, “You’re in trouble if it’s not!”

I walked down and reached the harbour just after high tide, enough to see the gate and its temple separated by water.

I walked around the harbour. It was pretty. It had a five-story pagoda, and the cherry blossom trees were sprinkled around town.

Whilst walking around town, I bumped into the Indian mother who was being urged on by her daughter up Mount Misen. I asked, “Was it 10 minutes?”, and she answered, “Yes — just about”. I replied, “I was going to say 15 minutes, but you looked in good shape!” We both laughed.

To catch high tide, I had skipped Daisho-in, a temple complex, on the way down Mount Misen. I now returned. It’s huge and goes back to the year 806.

From the temple, there are several parks you can walk around, including one that promised lots of cherry blossom trees! It was spectacular!

I returned to the Great Torii Gate. As I looked at it, now revealing its complete splendor with the tide gone out, I saw someone walking bare footed on the sand towards the gate. As she came past me, I asked, “Was that good?”. She replied hesitantly, “Yes, it was”. On enquiring, it turned out she was expecting me to tell her off! Just 10 minutes ago, someone had reprimanded her for something I can’t quite remember now. We got talking and spent some time walking around together since we wanted to see the same places.

As the day drew to a close, I took some final photos of the torii gate before taking the ferry back to the mainland.

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