Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miyajima Island

Another tourist area nearby is Miyajima Island. The island is in the Seto Inland Sea and is considered to be holy land by Japanese followers of shinto.

To get there we walked the two and a half miles to the Iwakuni train station. From there is is a short train ride north. We got off at the Miyajimaguchi Station and walked to the port. To get to the island you have to take a ferry ride for about $20.
Ferry Caption
From the boat could see Miyajima. Doesn't it look like something out of a Jurassic Park movie?

Oyster Flats
Miyajima Island is a big tourist area. Many Japanese come here to pray at one of the many shrines or temples. The torii gate is also the only floating torii. It's not actually floating, but at high tide appears to be. It has only been destroyed seven times in the last 1500 years. The current torii has been "floating" for over 400 years. It is made of wood and is not anchored, but rather supported by its own weight.
Low tide
Once through the torii gate, the Japanese would go to the Itsukushima Shrine. Built with interconnected boardwalks the building appears to be floating during high tide. For a small fee we walked through it although we avoided the praying and fortune-telling areas.
Side building with pogoda
While walking through the shrine we found the steepest bridge I have ever seen. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was blocked off, but I don't think I could walk up it.

The island has muliple parks scattered around the island. On the west side of the island is a rope way that has cable cars to take you up the mountains. Mt. Misen is the tallest mountain on the island and is 1,755 feet above sea level.

We decided to walk through Momijidani park and take the ropeway. Along the way up the foothills we passed many shrines and temples.

Entrance to Shinto Shrine
When we got to the bottom of the ropeway we discovered the line to go up was at least an hour long. So we opted to climb the mountain on foot. Oh, and it was a climb. All stairs...

Climbing the mountain
The hike wasn't very long, but it was straight up. I was actually wishing for switchbacks. At the top the trail splits to go to the ropeway of to continue further up the mountain. Every now and then along the trail we would pass little Buddha statues. Often they had yen sitting on them. They were all different types. One was lifting a dumbbell, another was doing jung fu, one was laughing... they were very comical.
small statues

At the top is another shrine and the eternal flame. The signs read that the flame has been burning constantly since the 1100s. It was used to light the flame in the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima.

A shinto shrine
The view from the top was magnificent... and worth all those stairs.


There is a small tower with a snack/ drink shop at the top of Mt. Misen. We shared a bowl of udon noodles with tofu and shaved ice. It was very tasty!
There are three other trails up the mountain that we want to come back and explore. Hopefully next time it won't be all stairs!

High tide

No comments:

Post a Comment