Day 7 (December 27th, 2014)
During breakfast high up in the hotel we had a fantastic view over Hiroshima, which is situated on 7 rivers, all of which flow down from the mountains.
After breakfast, we made a trip to Miyajima Island. We were picked up at the hotel and brought to the ferry. Arriving on the island, you can easily be on your own. First we visited the Itsukushima Shrine there.
The initial form of the shrine was created in 593, and the structure that is still preserved today was built for Taira no Kiyomori in the 12th century.
The main buildings of Itsukushima Shrine rest directly in front of the island on elevated platforms, whose pillars stand in the water at high tide so that the whole complex seems to float. They are connected to each other by a 280-meter-long covered walkway.
From the landing pier the path led along the water, always with a view of the red gate “Torii” in the water. Torii are elements of the traditional Japanese architecture and as such are real or symbolic entrance gates of a shrine. It stands, like the temple, completely in water at high tide. This special torii is a very popular photo motif. There are many such “torii” in Japan.
The Itsukushima Shrine itself is also very worth seeing, also all in red. In the open corridors, beige lanterns with red print hung in each arch. Very photogenic, from different angles great to photograph.
Another attraction on the island is the Senjō-kaku hall, built in 1587. The actual name of the building is Toyokuni Shrine, named so in 1872 and dedicated to the soul of Hideyoshi; but it is generally called Senjō-kaku “Tower of a Thousand Tatamis”, an allusion to the size of the hall, which is built of massive wooden beams and pillars.
Next to the hall is a five-storey pagoda, which is particularly impressive because of its strong orange-red colour. It also belongs to the Itsukushima Shrine. The special feature of this pagoda is the central supporting pillar, which extends from the top only to the first floor. It is said that there are five pagodas of this kind in Japan.
The island also has a small village with about 800 inhabitants, another pagoda-like temple and many very tame deer - the island is very famous for them. Some of them came curiously towards us and sniffed at our coat pocket to see if there was something edible in it. Others stood in front of the shops in the hope of getting something.
After our return trip to Hiroshima we picked up our luggage at the hotel and were taken to the train station, from where we, again with the Shinkansen, now went to Tokyo. After more than 800km and almost 4 hours, we arrived at the main station in Tokyo. There we were again picked up and brought to the hotel. It was already late, we were very tired and so we only ate something in the hotel restaurant and went to bed immediately.