Day 12: November 2nd 2008 Sunday
The floating gate
Sunday's plan was to go to Miyajima, also known as Itsuku-Shima. Miyajima is the place for the famous floating gate. If you've ever seen picture of a red Shinto gate, which stands on water. That's the one. From the Hiroshima main station, I took train south. About 30 minutes later, I transferred to a ferry that took me to the island. The floating gate was visible already from far away, and the ferry rode deliberately close by from the gate.
As I understood, there isn't much anything else to see on the island than the gate. After getting out from the ferry, I headed straight towards the gate. I noticed there was small boat with maybe 15-20 people in it, going through the gate. I thought it maybe was some Shinto ritual, as they all were wearing funny pointed straw hats. But it looked like some of them might have had cameras, so maybe they were tourists.
As I got close to the gate, I took bunch of pictures around. There also were quite lot of tame deer, similar like in Nara. The boat I saw earlier, went around the gate few times, and then started to return back to shore. I guessed they were tourists after all, so I went to see the place where they were heading to. There was a guy selling tickets to a boat ride through the gate, so I got myself a seat in there. In the boat, they gave us the funny pointed straw hats, and then we went around the gate few times, same like the previous group. After the ride, I took a walk through the shrine, and along the shoreline. The scenery was quite nice, deer strolling around lazily. I stopped at a restaurant for katsukarii, pork and curry.
There is about 500 meter tall mountain on the island, so I decided to take a ride up with the cable car. Walk to the cable car station wasn't that much, but there was long line, and I had to wait close to 1 hour before I got in the cable car. Half-way up, there was transfer to another cable car, and up we went. There was path down, so I bought only one-way ticket, feeling confident I could walk back down. The cable car station wasn't actually on top, from there you had to walk about 30 minutes to reach the top. Unfortunately the weather was getting hazy and cloudy, so the view wasn't that much.
After peering around, I started my climb back down. The path went through beautiful forests. Although the path was quite steep, and my feet weren't so used to such exercise, it was nice experience to walk back down. It took me a bit over 1 hour to reach back to the base of the hill. Not much left to see, I took the ferry back to main land, and train back to Hiroshima. After the hike, I slept like a baby.