A ten-minute ferry ride from Hiroshima is the island of Miyajima, home to the famous ‘floating’ tori gate. Rainy weather didn’t deter us, short on time as we were, and in fact the low clouds gave the mountains a mystical feel. Glad we brought umbrellas from the hostel though.
Arriving at low tide we joined the throngs surrounding the gate, completely out of the water for the moment. Avoided a near-disaster with a cheeky deer trying to eat Trystan’s transport pass and made our way to Itsukushima Shrine, which also appears to float at high tide.
Took the ropeway up to the top of Mount Misen and, at the brief moments when the clouds swept apart, admired the panoramic view over the Seto Inland Sea. Can only imagine how magnificent the views would be on a clear, cloudless day. Regardless, walking through the forests and breathing in the clean, cool mountain air was heaven after the emotional heavy lifting that the Hiroshima memorials had been the day before.
About halfway on the hike up to the peak of the mountain is the Reikado Hall (Hall of the Spiritual Flame) which protects a flame that is said to have been lit by Kobo Daishi, the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism and the first to practice Buddhism on the mountain. The flame has supposedly been burning ever since – it was used to light the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima, and many couples light a candle there together to represent the eternity of their love.
A beautiful day trip, even in not-so-good weather. Oh, and Miyajima is also home to the world’s largest rice scoop! We managed to find it and snap a picture right before our ferry left and we had to head back to the mainland.