Friday, August 23, 2013



On the 14th we went to Miyajima, a small island near Hiroshima. From Hiroshima station it takes about 30 minutes by train and then a ten minute ferry ride.

The ferry was pretty crowded, but I ended up being able to get to the edge to take some pictures of the nice view.

When we arrived on the island we saw quite a few deer. They really liked to eat maps, haha. I saw at least three get stolen and eaten in just a few minutes. 

There weren't as many deer as in Nara but it was still neat.

The main attraction on Miyajima is Itsukushima shrine. At low tide you can walk up to the torii gate. Low tide was around 8 that morning so we didn't get to see that, but some people were still making their way out there. 

It was really really hot that day. The high was 93 which wasn't nearly as bad as when we went to Universal, but we still got really sweaty. I bought quite a few drinks that day including this Bitter Lemon soda (just slightly bitter). So tasty!

First we did the ropeway. There is a free shuttle bus to the entrance but it's only a 10 minute walk (or 7 if run a little! haha) and it's a nice area so I think the walk is worth it.

The ropeway took us up Mt. Misen. I thought the ride was a little scary, but fun and pretty. 

The view was unfortunately very hazy and it was hard to see the ocean and islands in the distance, but it was still nice. I think it would be really pretty in the fall or winter when it's clearer.

The ropeway doesn't take you all the way to the top of Mt. Misen. From the station it's about a thirty minute hike to the top. It was steeper and more of a hike than I expected. I thought it would be a gently sloping trail. I'm soooooo glad I decided against wearing flip flops that morning!

From the top we hiked down the mountain instead of taking the ropeway. The ropeway is 1,000 yen one way or 1,800 round trip which is kind of pricey. We hiked down on the Daisho-in course which I had read was the least steep of the trails and had the best views. That made me think that the path would not really be steep at all, but it was still steep in parts.

It was a hot and tiring hike down, but it was interesting. We saw several different types of lizards.

The end of the trail took us past Daisho-in Temple. It looked really neat and we decided to go there later. We wanted to go to Itsukushima Shrine first because it was about time for high tide (around 2:30 that day).

I was afraid that Itsukushima Shrine would be super busy because there had been quite a long line to get in when we arrived that morning. I figured high tide would the be the more popular time, but it was actually less crowded.

We were really hungry at this point so we looked around for a place to eat. While looking around I saw a place selling ramune which is soda in a bottle sealed with a marble. They had two flavors: lemon and momiji manju. Momiji Manju are little cakes with various fillings that are popular on the island. I of course went with the Momiji Manju flavor! It tasted like ginger ale with a bit of cake flavor. It was really good!

We ended up eating at one of the many places that served curry and rice. I got the tonkatsu (breaded pork) curry. It was huge but so good so I ate it all except for a little bit of the sauce.  

Next we headed back to Daisho-in. Along the way I saw a place that made Momiji Manju. 

Here's the entrance to Daisho-in.

Daisho-in had a lot of random statues and stuff. I had a lot of fun looking around! 

There were so many maple trees! I would love to go back in the fall. Too bad it's so far away. :(

There were many flower pots that had fish in them. I wasn't sure if it was on purpose or if the water had come from the nearby stream and there had been fish or fish eggs in it. 

After looking around Daisho-in we headed back to the main area. There were quite a few gift stores along the way. It was hard to choose souvenirs because there were so many cute things, but I ended up with a couple of items with a rabbit/maple leaf character named Usamomi. Usagi means rabbit and momiji means Japanese maple so it's a combination of those words.

Earlier in the day I had seen a strawberry shaved ice stand and it looked soooo tasty, but we arrived right as they were closing. Sad! :(

Then we went up and saw the pagoda. You can see it from a distance from other areas so if you're short on time I don't think you really need to go right up to it. 

On our way back to the ferry we passed through an area with a ton of souvenir shops. I could have spent a long time there, but Jonathan was tired and wasn't interested so I didn't get to look as much as I wanted to. 

I then saw a shaved ice place with self-serve flavored syrups! It made up for the other place being closed. It was awesome. :)

There were a several interesting flavors. I passed on the tomato flavor though. Ick.

I went a bit crazy with the syrups and couldn't tell which one was which, but it was sugary tasty deliciousness. :) I got grapefruit, strawberry, cassis and orange, melon, hibiscus and maybe a couple others. It started out as a bit pile of shaved ice but all the syrup I added made it melt down.

As we stood there and ate our shaved ice I noticed a store that was all Hello Kitty stuff! 

Want to spend over three hundred dollars on a giant Hello Kitty?

They even sold Hello Kitty momiji manju!

I didn't think that they sold individual ones but now I see on the sign that they did have single ones for 100 yen. If I go back again I'll have to get one.

I had already bought one at another more traditional place earlier though. Jonathan and I both got ones with chocolate filling and ate them later that night. They were really good and I wished I had bought more.

We couldn't leave the island without a few more deer pictures! :)

The ferry was a lot less crowded on the way back and we were actually able to get seats, but I spent most of my time standing by the railing anyways. 

When we got back to Hiroshima we went back out to the Hondori area. On the way there I took a picture of this manhole cover.

I originally wanted to eat at a place with a bunch of Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki restaurants, but I was still pretty full from our late lunch so I let Jonathan decide where to go. We ended up eating at Ichiran ramen, one of my favorite ramen places. 

Afterwards we went to another arcade which ended up being one of our favorite arcades. We played basketball, DDR, darts, and did purikura. I also played Super Mario World!

Purikura booths often smooth out your skin and make your eyes stand out. It's a bit creepy, but it's an important part of the hilariousness of purikura.

The next day we headed back home. We used another day on our Seishun Juuhachi Kippu tickets. We left Hiroshima at 10:13 and arrived in Iwata at 8:40. We spent about 10 and a half hours traveling! It only cost 2,300 yen though! On those same trains without the pass it would have been 9,560! Shinkansen would have taken only about three hours but would have cost 14,700. We have a long vacation with plenty of time so the Seishun Juuhachi Kippu was definitely worth it!

Here's a video I took of Miyajima:

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