Miyajima: An Amazing Island

Before coming to Japan, I knew that it was a country comprised of a number of islands (though not as archipelagic as the Philippines).  Most of the anime I watched as a kid were mostly set in either the big cities or mountainous countrysides.  All of these changed when I got to visit Miyajima (Itsukushima) for a day trip.

A tourist can definitely go hopping around fantastic islands in Japan!

Getting here is fairly easy and just takes a brief train and ferry ride from Hiroshima.  If time is not an issue, I highly suggest spending a night here especially if you want to experience the Japanese kind of island life and nature.  I would say it’s a very unique kind of island because there’s only a small amount of shoreline (at least in the parts I visited) and cold bodies of water.   If time is an issue, then an early day trip (8AM) should enable you to fully explore this beautiful island.

Words cannot really capture the natural beauty of this island.  It reveals a different side of the Japan that you might have known of.  I will definitely return here in the future.

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A shot of Miyajima island from the ferry. From Hiroshima station, take the Sanyo Line bound for Miyajima-guchi (alight here) and Iwakuni. Train fare costs about 450 yen and 30 minutes one way. The ferry ride costs about 360 yen for a roundtrip ticket.
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Arrival at the port! Very tourist-friendly with a lot of English signs.
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Deer! They roam freely throughout the island.
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Probably not a good idea to do (see the warning). However, they are so adorable!
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There is also a long shopping arcade that traverses the shoreline where you can find local food, sweets, etc. Good place to experience local food after a long hike.
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A shot of the “Torii” gate during high tide. These gates can be found all over Japan and symbolize the movement from the material world into a place of holiness.

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Entrance to Itsukushima Shrine

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Perhaps one of Japan’s most beautiful moats I have seen so far.
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To fully experience the best of both worlds, I highly recommend taking the cable car to go up Mt. Misen to experience the breathtaking views (the car was so packed I could not take photos). One way costs 900 yen. To make it even more exciting, hike all the way up the peak from the end of the cable car and then hike back down. I guarantee that it will be worth the 2-hour trip and the sore legs.
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Made it to the top of Mt. Misen!
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After a wonderful and exhausting hike down Mt. Misen, this is what I saw. You can actually go to the Torii gate at low tide!
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See what I mean? Truly amazing!

Hiroshima: Where Peace Happens

Hiroshima is literally a city that has risen from ashes.  History may have not been on this city’s side during WWII but that totally changed.  Now, it is a city that is thriving and blossoming.  I was amazed at how the people of Hiroshima were able to rebuild the city while retaining its core heritage.  The bridges were paved mightily and road trains were still the best way to go around.  Peace truly has a unique way of making things happen.

 

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Kodama! The Kodama is the slowest Shinkansen at roughly 270km/h but as a first timer, I really liked how the speed was subtle.
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An amazing thing about the Shinkansen was the revolving seats which allowed me to face friends. Eating and drinking is allowed on the Shinkansen!
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Touchdown at Hiroshima Station! The entire trip took about 2.5 hours.
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We were starving so Hiroshima-Yaki happened! The difference with a regular Okonomiyaki was that it had considerably more cabbage, was somehow layered, and more delicious than Osaka’s Okonomiyaki. This one should set you back about 750 yen. Oishi desu!
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The train stations of Hiroshima were just few and tourist-friendly. Going to the Peace Museum (Genbaku Doma-mae) costs about 160 Yen.
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Choo-choo! First road train ride ever!
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Look at that cool brown cockpit!

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A brief history of the significance of the A-Bomb Dome (Genbaku Dome).

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It used to be an exhibition hall where the city’s products, both traditional and modern, were showcased. The walls were really melted in a very unique way.
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On the way to the Peace Museum. It had a majestic garden in front of it. I could not bear to take pictures of what was inside though. I would just leave it for you to see on your own. It was very sad.
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The pristine Ota River which is another one of Japan’s beautiful rivers.
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Hiroshima Castle! We were fortunate enough because students get in for free! So don’t forget your ID! For tourists, it costs around 800 Yen to go to the top.  It will be worth it. There’s so many things to see inside! Especially Samurai equipment and other historical Japanese artifacts.
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The breathtaking view at the top of Hiroshima Castle. It takes around 6 flights of stairs to get here.
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Hiroshima Castle with the lights on.
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As a huge Japanese car fan, I could not help drooling over this awesome R31 Skyline. The stance was perfect and I could tell that the car had seen some drifting action based on the tires and the fender scratches.