Visiting Miyajima Island

Sunday, December 03, 2017
The major landmark of Miyajima Island located a bit south of Hiroshima is the famous red gate, the Great Torii. But the island has so much more to offer than just a floating gate.

Great Torii gate on Miyajima Island near Hiroshima, Japan
After receiving advice from our local host in Hiroshime; Hiro. We used our JR Pass to take the train line from Hiroshima AND the ferry to Miyajima Island (YES, the ferry fee is covered by the pass, ain't that amazing?).
From a distance you can spot the red gate standing in the water, but it looks rather small until you actually see it from the island. The gate stands on its own, meaning that; the posts aren't dug into the ground. Not even a single centimeter. Impressive engineering and architectural design.

Buddha statues wrapped in winter clothes on Miyajima Island, Japan
If you choose to go a bit inland on Miyajima there's a quite large network of trekking paths and temples. And A LOT of small buddha statues along the pathways. Due to the low temperatures the buddhas had been covered with winter clothes by locals.

Lanterns in a buddhist temple on Miyajima Island, Japan
The temples and the island-atmosphere is quite unique on Miyajima. Some of the temples have dark underpassages to make your eyes blind but your mind wide open. Other are installed with hundreds of lanterns. There's a lot of local tourists and pilgrims and a lot of souvenir shops, but somehow the vibe of being on a religious island doesn't drown in that. Besides that, there's a massive population of very curious and very cute deer. The don't mind petting and some of them will even follow you around. I didn't see a single one being fed by tourists, only signs telling people not to.

A deer resting in the sand on Miyajima Island, Japan
The tallest mountain on Miyajima is Mt. Misen and of course we decided we had to summit. However time and a couple of bad knees forced us to take the short route after riding two different styled cable cars higher up the mountainside. From there we climb the last peak in about 30 minutes. The weather was clear and the view outstanding.

Mt. Misen summit view on Miyajima Island, Japan
We descended quite fast again as we wanted to be back for the low tide. During low tide the water withdraws from the island and the Great Torii gate. Making it possible to walk up to and right under the gate. A unique phenomenon I've never experienced before.

Great Torii at low tide on Miyajima Island, Japan

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