We took an overnight trip to the magical island of Miyajima, stopping in Hiroshima on our way to visit the Peace Park.
April 10 – Peace Park and Shrine Tour
We left most of our luggage behind at our airbnb in Kyoto and traveled with our backpacks, via Shinkansen, to Hiroshima. It was overcast when we boarded the red tour bus that took us directly from the JR station to the Atomic Bomb Dome, it’s shell left standing as a reminder of the horrors of nuclear warfare. We spent a couple hours visiting the numerous monuments throughout the park and briefly touring the museum; I couldn’t stay long, the images and tattered remains were too depressing.
We then caught a fast, direct boat to Miyajima, getting to the island in about 45 minutes. As on Nara, Sika Deer wander through town; I helped another tourist recovered her booklet from one. When we picked up a map at the tourist information center, we were thrilled to hear than our hotel, Jukeiso, offers a shuttle service. We were picked up 15 minutes and whisked uphill, bypassing the congested main village, and delivered to the nicest place we’ve stayed on our trip. (It was also the most expensive and the only one available when we tried to book a room a couple weeks ago). Though I’m not fond of sleeping on thin, hard futons, our room was spacious with a pleasant view.
From there, it was a short walk down a stone staircase to the shrine and its famous torii gate. It was low tide so many people were walking out to touch it. The shrine, and whole island, feels peaceful. A light misty rain began as we wandered down shop-lined Omotesando street. I bought one of the wooden dolls I’ve been eyeing since we arrived. We returned along the shore.
Back up in our room, we changed into yukata robes and slippers for a fishy feast – sashimi, sushi, salad with fish, beef sukiyaki, tempura with prawns, fish, and veggies, tofu, rice, miso, and a few unidentifiable items, plus an Asahi and dessert! I was as stuffed as at Thanksgiving. Afterwards, I took a 5-minute walk to the shore to photograph the lighted torii gate, now at high tide. I got back to our room just in time for our half-hour soak in the private onsen with an opening overlooking the hillside and down to the torii gate. This stop makes a perfect bookend to Mt. Fuji, which we visited early in our trip.
April 11 – Rainy Stroll on Miyajima
I took a short walk up to the Daishoin Temple in the morning; it was raining harder than I realized, so I didn’t stay out long. We had breakfast at our hotel, included with our room, Japanese for me (rice, salmon, cooked this time); Nancy chose Western food (eggs cooked with bacon and toast). I would gladly have traded my warm tofu for her yogurt, but was otherwise happy with my choice.
The rain slowed a bit, so we walked back to the port, climbing up to the base of the five-storied pagoda on our way. I paid to enter hall of adjacent Hokoku Temple, removing my shoes, so I could take pictures without getting my camera wet. I had left my umbrella behind in Kyoto, so I was dripping by the time we boarded the ferry (my lightweight rain shell passed the test and kept me dry). From the ferry terminal it was about a half hour train ride back to the station where we caught a Shinkansen back to Kyoto.