We travel by ferry to the scenic island of Miyajima, which was once a sacred island. A beautiful 16m high Torii gate stands in the harbour like it is floating, but is actually weighed down by 7 tons of small rocks.

We see tame deer everywhere who try to eat your papers, nibble your pockets/backpacks etc. The Itsukushima shrine is huge sitting over the ocean floor.

It is distinctive orange and white with lacquer to protect it. We see the end of a ceremony blessing a young child.

The island is mountainous we take a rope car (cable car) up Mt. Missen through the green virgin forest. Next a steep hike up the observation post past shrines and temples of all sizes, including one that houses the eternal flame (Reikado Hall). The flame has been kept lit for the past 1200 years. The view from the top is fantastic, giving you a 360 degree view of the entire island, but it’s a little smoggy which obscures some things in the distance.

We decide to walk down, which turns out to be a bad idea. It is slow going down the steep uneven rock stairs, very hard on the knees, and ends up taking over 90 minutes.

Along the way is the Daishoin Temple complex, a beautiful buddist temple with gold items, monks drumming and chanting. There is a very narrow and steep staircase to the top of the temple (pit) with a nice view of the Torii gate.

Leaving the temple, we take a different pathway that contains over 500 small statues – Buddha and fun rakan statues. Many are wearing knitted hats, a very whimsical sight. Raken means “the worthy” a title given to disciples of Zen Buddhism.

Lots of snacks along the way, fish on a stick wrapped in bacon and filled with cheese. A good pick me up after our hike. Matcha ice cream hits the spot as well (made from tea leaves). Momiji Manju snack cakes, cream filled in a maple leaf shape are made everywhere.

Breakfast is included here at Tokyo Inn. The Japanese version of a continental breakfast includes miso soup,clam chowder, salad,greens, whipped scrambled eggs,pork sausage, apple cider juice. A very pleasant surprise and one less meal to worry about.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *