Taking the advice of the Brit we met yesterday we headed out of Hiroshima to Miyajima Island It looked close on the map but it was a good 30 minutes on the train. From Miyajimguchi station it is a short walk down to where the ferries take you over to the Island. The ferries run every fifteen minutes so no need to rush as you get off the train. They also have a locker facility meaning we could dump our heavy bags and really enjoy the day. Probably the best ¥600 we have spent since getting here! The ferry takes about twenty minutes to cross and I urge you to walk around the boat, each side offers a unique view. Be sure to find yourself on the right side of the boat as it approaches the island because it will do a quick fly by of The Great Torii before docking.
Miyajima is a beautiful island that I wish we had more time to explore. As you get off the ferry you find yourself wandering down quaint little streets packed with tourists and local Japanese stools and shops selling everything from octopus to ice cream. We didn’t have either due to budget constraints but did give in to, well, we don’t really know what they were. Since we have been in Japan we have seen shops with very large automated machinery in the windows churning out what looks like biscuits. They looked really dry and shortbread like, not that appetising. However at the street markets we could get close enough to inspect them and discovered they were soft and sponge like. We then found one labeled chocolate, and caved in. Costing only ¥90 each (50p) they are not going to break the budget. Wow they taste amazing, and we’re still warm. Soft fluffy sponge cakes with a chocolate cream filling. Maybe it’s a good thing we didn’t try them when we first got to Japan, we may have blown a lot of money on them during our stay.
The main attraction on the island is The Great Torii which is a 17 meter high, 24 meter wide, 60 tonne Torii 200 meters off the coast of the island. When the tide is in it looks like the Torii is floating on the sea. For ¥1000 each (£5) you can be taken out on a traditional Japanese boat to get a closer look and drift through the gate. If that’s not close enough you can wait until low tide where you are able to walk out and touch it. The main pillars are made from camphor trees and are about 600 years old. Like most wooden buildings The Great Torii has been rebuilt over the years, the one we see today is actually the 8th, built in 1875, the original was constructed in 1168 painted in the vermilion orange colour to keep evil spirits away. What’s blown me away is that it is not buried deep in the sand but rather just sits there on its 6 pillars. To help weigh it down sections have been filled with seven tons of stones each one the size of your fist. If you can draw yourself away from the majesty of The Great Torii there is the Itsukushima Shrine to explore. Being suspended over the water makes this shrine a very unique and surreal experience. You can see fish swimming around beneath your feet as you explore. You are lead around the catwalk to a very popular photograph spot of The Great Torii. There was a very long queue and decided to move on the small beach and grab some photos there instead:
Realising we was running out of time, (we still have a 5 hour train journey to Kukora) we headed back to the mainland and grabbed some lunch before jumping on the train. The 5 hours flew past, I seriously recommend starting a blog, blogging takes up so much time and is great for long journeys, not to mention keeping note of what you’ve done. Tonight we were staying at Tanga Table Hostel, which was just a short walk from the station. We thought we had booked a private room but that was lost in translation on the website and apparently we had only paid for one person so had to cough up double the money, definitely a complaint letter on the cards. However on the plus side it’s the best Hostel we have stayed in, if a little expensive. The place can’t be more than a few months old, everything is either immaculate or not finished! We was meant to be sleeping on traditional futons (on the floor) but these were all taken and ended up in bunk beds that had curtains offering you some privacy. Just a shame the guy below be was sniffing all night!