One of the most photographed Torii Gates in Japan is located near Hiroshima on Miyajima Island, called the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate. Todays adventure would take us to the island. The trick with the Gate is to be their at high tide and then wait for low tide. At high tide it looks to be floating in the sea and at low tide you can walk up to it. High tide today was 12:34pm which was very convenient for us.
With our apartment right next to Peace Park there are no trains nearby so it was a 2.5 km walk along Heiwa Odori to the Nishi-Hiroshima station on the Sanyo Main Line through to Miyajimaguchi. During our walk we came across the Hiroshimashi Fire Department Nishi Fire Department. There was a language issue but they directed us to their visitor lobby for a look and of course we got photos of the trucks.
After the train there was a short 10 minute ferry ride over to Miyajima Island where they went as close as they could to the Torii Gate without being beached. There was a lot of people here. I guess this is a weekend trip for the locals and tourists alike. Although today there appeared to be some sort of oyster festival on. The first thing we saw were deer. At first I thought they were tethered but no they were wild and everywhere. You are not supposed to feed them but that didn’t seem to stop the locals and in fact the deer would come up behind and start chewing into your bag if they could smell food.
We followed the crowd around to the point overlooking the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate and grabbed our photos at high tide. We then visited the Toyokuni Shrine and 5 Story Pagoda before heading back down into town to sample the various street foods. This place reminds me of a Japanese Hahndorf.
The rest of the group arrived on the Island and we started to tour the town before heading up the gondola which was called Myajima Ropeway (but I couldn’t see much rope only steel cables) to the Shishi-iwa Observation Deck with views back to Hiroshima. What we didnt realise was there was a walk up to Mount Misen which had an Observatory and many Temples. Oh well, something to visit next time.
It was back down to the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate. This time the tide was right out and you could walk right up to it with hundreds of our closest friends. The tide here must have dropped around 2 metres.
The sun was starting to set and with some photos of the Gate against the setting sun it was back on the ferry and then the train with the masses back towards Hiroshima.
We had been recommended to visit the Okonomiyaki restaurants in town. The best one was in a 7 story building with many small family run restaurants on each floor. Each could hold around 10 to 15 people and are very popular. Eventually we found one that could hold us all and spoke a little English. It was Okonomimura Syo-Chan.
The food is prepared before you on the hot plate and is a sort of Japanese pancake although eggs are used in place of batter. It has vegetables, pork, egg, squid, prawns and noodles and is very filling. Washed down with a few of the local beers and it was a good meal.
Grabbed a geocache down on the ground floor near the entrance, before farewelling the rest of the group who walked north while we walked south back to our apartment.
A big day of walking with 18845 steps for the day.