What a day to be alive!
Just in case you saw my site's homepage and you thought to yourself, "wow, what a beautiful place! Where could it possibly be?" The answer, my friend, is Itsukushima, commonly referred to as Miyajima, island.
Okay let's backtrack to how I got there. vvvvrrrrrrppppppp!
I woke up at about 7am that morning and got ready in my hotel room in Hiroshima. The hotel included a small, complementary breakfast so I sat on the canal and enjoyed a sandwich, yogurt with fruit, and a coffee. It was already looking like it was going to be a beautiful day; the sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and the temp was in the 70's (that's around 23 or 24 degrees to you celsius users).
I then set out on my way, but first made the essential stop at a Family Mart to buy a Royal Milk Tea (for those of you who don't frequent convenient stores, its just a sweetened black tea drink with milk) and a water bottle for my journey. I became a bit addicted to cold Royal Milk Tea on this trip...
Anyway, after grabbing the essentials I pulled out my phone and followed Google Maps to the nearest train station. It was an easy 15 or 20 minute walk to the station from my hotel and the train was a 45-minute, one-shot ride to the Miyajima Ferry Port.
At the Miyajima Ferry Port I was able to board the ferry for free because I had a JR Pass (See my post about the JR Pass for more details).
Although the ferry ride lasted only about 10 minutes, the scenery was beautiful. There was no feeling like watching the famed, Floating Torii Gate slowly come into view.
And this brings us back to my opening paragraph... damn was Miyajima beautiful. I don't even have words to describe this day but I'll do my best. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining and the sounds of the waves lapping the shore set a relaxing undertone. The island was also full of wild, friendly deer that roamed freely, occasionally stealing snacks from unsuspecting tourists.
My first destination was to see the Itsukushima Floating Torii Gate and it did not disappoint. When I arrived to the island it was late morning and the tide was low so I was able to walk all the way to the gate and stand under it.
The Shinto shrine on Itsukushima was built in the 16th century and was dedicated to the god of seas and storms. It was built to appear as if the shrine was floating on the ocean, separate from the island. However, the shrine and torii gate are more well-known for their photogenic qualities rather than their history and are famous for being one of the "Three Views of Japan."
With the mountains of Hiroshima in the background, it truly felt as though I was looking at a green screen or a poster. Places like this don't exist in real life, do they?
After staring at the Floating Torii for a bit, I made my way to the shrine. It cost a couple dollars to enter but it was worth it. The shrine was every bit as magical as the gate that stood in front of it. Here is just one picture I took of it, but I put more on the photography page of this site, and of course even more of my travel photos are on my Instagram.
After I spent some time exploring the shrine, I decided to head to the shopping district of the island. I easily spent a few hours walking around the shops and trying the street food.
I ended up having a lunch of okonomiyaki, which is best described as a Japanese pancake, except the only thing pancakey about it is the shape. It's actually a savory dish made out of noodles, cabbage, bean sprouts, green onion, batter and I opted to have egg and cheese put in mine as well. It was also topped with Japanese mayonnaise and Okonomi Sauce (a sweet and sour variation of Worcestershire Sauce). There are many variations of okonomiyaki and it depends what part of Japan you get it in and the restaurant you try, so don't expect it to be the same everywhere you go. But do expect it to be delicious!
Before I knew it, the sun began to set and I knew I had about an hour-long journey back to my hotel (ferry, walking, train, and more walking). I decided to get one last glimpse of the Floating Torii Gate before I left the island and this time it was high tide and I finally understood why it's called the Floating Torii.
The water level had risen and the gate which I walked to earlier in the day was now only accessible by boat; it was a sight to behold. I sat on the stone wall and watched the ocean sparkle under the sinking sun. What a day to be alive!
Thought I got enough of Miyajima Island? Think again! In my next post, I return to the island for a new set of adventures!
If you got to the end of this post, thank you so much for taking the time to visit my page!<3
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See you soon!