Still clearing the decks for the more recent trip.
Miyajima was amazing though and the delay in posting is due entirely to crazy work stuff. Especially considering how muggy Tokyo is getting these days (as we begin our inevitable descent into summer), a post about the cool and rainy Miyajima sounds perfect.
First, the backdrop– Miyajima is an island not far from Hiroshima. I first heard of it when my friend Jordan was teaching English there, and Tara got on to it through pictures of the famous floating torii.
The Miyajima torii are a UN World Heritage site associated with the Itsukushima shrine, but they’re iconic because they’re stuck about 30 meters out into the bay, so at high tide they “float”…
…and at low tide you can walk right up to them.
We arrived just at high tide, and left just at low tide, so the timing was perfect. We also lucked out because it was chilly and drizzly all day, so the tourist count was delightfully low. We spent about an hour walking around the Itsukushima shrine, which was a series of connected covered walkways and shrines out over the water facing the torii. Naturally, I spent most of my time trying to perfectly frame the temples and Tara together. (And I’m getting better at that, if I do say so myself)
Then, even though we expected the views to be minimal, we headed up the mountain.
The middle of Miyajima island is dominated by a large forested mountain– the Misen Primeval Forest– topped by a temple compound. Together they are a World Cultural Heritage site. (Have we mentioned how much the Japanese love and seek out these designations? Well they do.) The mountain was indeed cloud covered, but it was so peaceful way up there with only us and a few intrepid hikers in the mists. We had 360 degree views of the other small islands in the bay, coming and going in the clouds.
After pondering briefly how on earth they founded such a massive temple compound on the top of such a steep mountain that not one but two cable cars were necessary to get us up there… we made our way back down to the town for Miyajima’s other special feature: oysters! Delicious, delicious oysters.
And one final oddity before we move on to the last post of our March trip: