A short day trip from Hiroshima (or even Okayama, on the Shinkansen), and covered in primeval forest, the trail up Mount Misen is one of the most rewarding hikes to be had. On this particular clear day Spring day, we decided to venture onwards and upwards.
Getting to the TopThe Ropeway entrance was a few meters away from our amazing little Ryokan, Momiji-so. After a morning in Itsukushima Jinja and a late morning exploring the pagodas and Shinto temples, we headed towards the Ropeway station to board a cable car.
At 530m, Misen is Miyajima’s highest mountain. With the heat beating down on us, we decided to take the 2-stage ropeway all the way to the highest point possible and then continue by foot.
The views from the cable car were already decidedly impressive.
Taking in the ViewsWe climbed to the top of the observatory deck and kicked our shoes off. The pale blue sky seemed to mix with the mountains and the horizon in the background. Around us, all sorts of people were arriving after their hike. We sat back and people-watched for a while.
On our way back down but still very close to the summit, we made a pit stop at a temple where Kōbō Daishi meditated for 100 days when he returned from China in the 9th century. Inside it, there’s a flame that has been burning since Kōbō Daishi lit it more than 1200 years ago.
The Reward!To descend, one can take a path downwards for about 1.15hrs or can jump on the ropeway. We did the latter and then settled on the outside area of our little Ryokan and rewarded ourselves with some freshly grilled Miyajima oysters, a local delicacy, and a set menu consisting of rice, meat, vegetables and fruit.
We weaved in an out of alleys full of little shops and factories large and small, all with robots or people making the local sweet: Momiji Manjyu.
These are the softest pastries / pancakes filled with different flavours. Each of the more than 20 factories in Miyajima have their own distinct twist for the sweets.