During my first ever trip to Hiroshima, I wanted to go to the Island of Miyajima. Mainly to see the famous Itsukushima Shrine with its giant Torii gate that juts out from the water. What I discovered is that there is a lot more to Miyajima that I expected. In fact, it had a zen like transformative quality.
Miyajima is accessed by ferry. There are two competing lines, located right next to each other, a short walk from Miyajimaguchi Station. I had a money-saving Japan Rail pass so I went on the JR ferry line and I also took the JR train from the main Hiroshima station. You can also get to the ferries via Streetcars, which I talked about, yesterday.
What makes Miyajima special? Beyond the ancient tourist sites, there is a natural beauty and a charming small town atmosphere. Hiroshima is not large compared to the other major cities, but there is still a density and bustle which are typical of urban Japan. Miyajima is like another world, which is made even more special by the ten minute ferry ride. At ten minutes, it’s short enough not to be an imposition but it’s long enough to feel transported to another world. A world where things are a lot slower and more deliberate.
I liked the place so much, I went twice during my short two-day stay. My first visit was late afternoon, as the sun was just beginning to make its descent. By the time I got there, more tourists were leaving than arriving. Photographically, it was the perfect time.
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