I can see why the shrine on Miyajima (shrine island) is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Besides the really cool looking shinto gate (torii in Japanese), the green, mountainous island in Hiroshima bay is a stunning backdrop. It reminded me a bit of the Mediterranean coast. I highly recommend staying at a hotel on the island and spending 1-2 days exploring. Besides being recognized by the UN, it is also one of the “three views of Japan” cited by 17th century scholar Hayashi Gahoo. This is the second of the three that I have visited.
My favorite part of the island is the hike to Mount Misen (535 meters – 1,755 feet). The views are spectacular, especially on a bright, sunny day like we had yesterday. It takes about 1 and 1/2 hours of pretty steep climbing, but well worth the effort. There is the typical tourist alley of shops and restaurants. We tried the Hiroshima style okonomiyaki, the savory pancakes. In Hiroshima they use more cabbage than in Osaka. I also had a bowl of the abundant grilled oysters that are caught in the bay. There are also loads of tame deer making a nuisance of themselves with tourists.
It was a great day for me. Walking in nature, cool sea breezes, delicious food and lots of laughs with the students and fellow chaperones. Also being a weekday, there were not the usual holiday crowds. I can’t recommend enough, a visit to this special place.