Staying overnight in Hiroshima enabled us to travel over to the very famous Miyajima, in Hiroshima bay. To get there you need to take a local train to the ferry station (JR pass can be used) and then get the ferry. There are two ferry companies running frequent boats between the port and island, both are identical in price and journey length. If you have your JR pass then the JR ferry is free, if not I’d strongly recommend getting the non-JR ferry, it didn’t have a queue at all!
The ferry journey is quite enjoyable, the sights are great across the bay and approach the island, capped by Mount Misen. We arrived quite early to the island, before 10am and so there were fewer tourists than there might have been. We planned it so we could catch both high tide and low tide in one day. We rushed from the ferry port to the area surrounding the Miyajima torii. It is truly enormous!
After photographing the torri sufficiently we decided to start our way up to the top of Mount Misen, where some beautiful temples and views awaited us. Here, like almost every place we visited, was in full bloom so we got to enjoy the sakura matsuri on Miyajima too. There are also some wild deer all over the island which are quite friendly, not to Nara standards, but they are cute.
We took the cable car up the first part of the hike, to the cable car station near Mount Misen’s peak. The cable car afforded great views of the inland sea and the small islands dotted all around. Once up you have your last chance of a hot meal before we started the hiking part of the day!
All up (and down and up and down) the path from the ropeway station to the peak of Mount Misen there are many small shrines, piled stones and offerings. This is a truly spiritual place for those that visit here, and test themselves on this arduous journey.
Up until this point our trip had only been mild in temperature, with a sun high in the sky, further south than we had traveled, the day got quite warm! The mountain was beautiful, on the way down we went for vast periods of time without coming across anyone else. Empty shrines and empty temples with beautiful nature was our companion.
Once at the bottom, as planned, the tide was out and we could walk to the torii. I wasn’t expecting the bottom to still look like an entire tree trunk! The gate is truly monstrous in size, an impressive feat to have got this here, and for it to stay.
We simply spent the evening travelling back to Kyoto, eating some dinner and getting some rest.