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.

Hiroshi­ma, view from our hotel

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.

Sen­jō-kaku

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.