03.04.2008 - 03.04.2008 -17 °C
I had been looking forward to visiting Miyajima since starting my trip and hearing from other travellers about it.
I bought a 2 day tram pass for 2000yen because I could also use it for the ferry to Miyajima and for the cable car to take me up and down the hill on the island. The tram journey too around an hour, I left around 8am because high tide was at this time and I wanted to reach the island before the tide had gone to far out.
Luckily the ferry journey was only about 10minutes, as I do suffer with sea sickness. Already before the ferry set off I could see the object that I was going to the island to see. An iconic image of Japan, though people dont realise. As it happens i was discussing this image with my parents and it was that they had seen the image on a geocaching website that very day. so thats how iconic it is.
Upon docking I went straight round to it and it really does look as amazing as i had hoped. A giant red torii, which appears to be floating in the water. There was a large group of Japanese getting their photo taken in front of it, well slightly to the side. There is a temple on the shore which isnt much for itself, but worth paying to enter so that you can get some nice photos of the torii. Being such a fan of toriis i did take quite a few photos from 3 different view points around the shore line. a kind man offered to take a photo of me with it since he could see that i was struggling with my gorillapod. he was then quite concerned that the screen doesnt work and he has to look through the viewfinder.i reassured him that it was daijabu. After taking a substantial amount of photos i went off with plans to return around 2pm when the tide would then be out and it is possible to walk up to the torii.
I went wondering round, saw many deer. I then aimed to find the cable station to take me up the mountain. But on the way i was inticed into seeing some dolls as it was the last day of the girls festival. I gentleman who spoke very good english told me a little about the dolls that he has on display but there are more displays all over the island that i could go and see. i then told the man that i was heading to the cable car, to which he said that someone had told him it was closed due to strong winds. i took the short walk up to ask for myself at the park entrance. and sure enough, i was told that it would be closed all day, which annoyed me somewhat because i had bought the 2000ye ticket which was only worth buying if you use the cable car.
disheartened i walked over to another shrine which made me laugh somewhat. They had a lying down golden woman wit marge simpson blue hair. and some tinned pineapple being offered to one statue while another had sake.
from here i walked to another temple which had some of te dolls on display and a young girl told me more about the history of the dolls.then this temple was also offering some classes, either in origami or caligraphy of rice spoons. becasue i discovered that miyajima is where the rice spoon was invented so i decided to write on the spoon. i decided to chose to write dream on my spoon in Kanji, because it was the best of the designs that they had to offer and i wasnt feeling cretive enough to ask them to translate any other words.
from here i decided to walk across to the cable car station to see if it was open on the off chance, especially as the walking route that i looked at as i walked past was closed on account of landslides from a typhoon. as it happened the cable cars were now opened so i took the first car half way, which was a car like normal cable cars. but then i had to change into another car which holds up to 30people and goes back and forth rather than around and around.
I was only up the top of the mountain for around 30minutes, but that was long enough to see some monkeys. its been a whle since i have been around monkeys so it made me very happy.
by this time it was about 2pm so i wanted to get back down th mountain again in order to see the torii with the tide out so i took the cars back down.
there was lots of people out at the torii now, many taking photos but also the japaese people were out at the shoreline digging around for something, i think maybe oysters.
while i had been in hiroshima talking to the group of 4 japanese people one of them told me an intersting fact that the torii isnt actually sunk in at all, well obviously a little bit on the surface but actually it is just from its weight that it sits there and does not fall over when the wter comes in. i liked looking at the part of the torii which goes in the water because there is a build up of seaweed and coral type stuff.
From taking more photos of the torii i went walking through the shops and wanted to try the maple leaf cakes that are famous frommiyajima. i tried them in a few flavours, green tea, chocolate, cream cheese and custard. they were rather nice and i hadnt eaten yet so they hit the spot. then i came across the worlds largest rice spoon. which was... big.
i had had enough of walking around by this stage and so i just headed back on the boat and tram to the hostel.
i ws going to have a quiet night in, maybe get some okonomiyaki when i met an ameican girl in my room who was going to the baseball, Hiroshima carps against osaka. so i thought that for 1500yen it would be fun to go along. i had contemplated it already, but didnt like the idea of going alone and she was glad of the company. so we went along and it was all very strange. well not the baseball, we werent really watching that. but just observing the japanese as sports fans was obscure. they become less inhibited. and we were in from of the band who with a guy dwn below shouting, were forming songs for every player everytime they batted. we had a few beers as well. qand our team won apparently.
from here we nipped across to peace memorial park so that we could take some photos of the A Bomb dome at night. and then went to find somwhere to get food near the hostel. i ended up getting some ramen and we were about finished and to go on our way when i drunken male japanese customer came in and offered us some sake and friendly banter. well it was all ok until he spilt sake over us. but he also gave us cake. so a ood night anyway.