Miyajima Island, hands down, beats every cliched double-page spread in any holiday glossy magazine any time of day. We arrived at sunset, and as the crowds gathered around the magnificent floating Tori, we walked over to the structure as the tide came in...
The excitement started as we approached the island on the ferry. Passengers slowly left their seats and gathered with their cameras pointing at the giant floating Tori. The sun was setting and though the sky was a bit hazy for a vibrant sunset, the view was impressive.
We researched an awesome little Ryokan away from the touristic area, down by the city centre below. We were picked up by our host and left our bags in our beautiful little Japanese room before heading back out to town.
The town had old houses and deer walking around looking for food - similar to Nara!
By the sea front, the crowds had picked their posts to watch the sunset. The tide was still very low so we walked up to the Tori for a close up.
It was not just the floating Tori that looked amazing against the night sky. Itsukushima Jinja also looked spectacularly eerie in the night, without tourists to trod its broad-walks.
After walking around and breathing the lovely fresh spring air from the last light hours in the day, we headed back to our lovely little Ryokan for an amazing dinner and after a super hot bath, we succumbed to a deep sleep.
The next morning we were treated to beautiful views of the mountain and the quiet sound of a stream splashing outside. After a delicious breakfast, we headed out to check out the temples.
We started with Itsukushima Jinja. It's a temple with origins as far back as the 6th century, and gives the island its name.
The shrine sits atop a pier-like structure of interconnected broad-walks and in the old times, commoners were not allowed to set foot on it, instead having to approach the island via the floating Tori.
As the day went by, more and more tourists arrived at the shrine. It was as interesting to watch them enjoy the attraction as it was to explore the attraction itself.
I walked around every last corner of the place, enjoying the quiet corners and the striking views of the floating tori from every last angle.
Leaving the shrine around noon on its Southernmost side, we climbed some stone steps just before the History and Folklore Museum which lead us up to a lovely Pagoda.
|Tahō-tō Pagoda in Itsukushima Island|
Coming back downstairs after a fair amount of island-spotting from that high vantage point, we descended onto the beachy area for a different view of the floating Tori and Itsukushima Jinja.
|Senjō-kaku and the pagoda in the background|
After some people-watching, we turned around to climb Daisho-in, a Buddhist Shingon temple with several building housing collections of dolls, Buddhist images, prayer wheels and even tengu (bird-like demons).
After some exploring and meditating we said our goodbyes and headed back up the mountain to climb atop the Momiji-dani for the most amazing views of the island. But that is another story....