Saturday, August 07, 2010


Sunscreen: check.
Umbrella for use in the sun: check
Free fan advertising an arts festival in Hiroshima: check
Big-ass bottle of Pocari Sweat: check
Japanese cloth for mopping up sweat: check

With all these tools to help me deal with the sun, heat, and humidity (slightly reduced today), I set off from Hiroshima for the island of Miyajima, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and site of one of the most iconic images of Japan. I arrived via train and ferry before noon at low tide, and took the "ropeway" (really a series of two cable cars) up Mt. Misen, where I hiked around (and down) for three or four hours. From the top there were amazing views of the Inland Sea. There were little shrines everywhere in the forest, tucked in little caves and in among rocks, offering shady spots of reflection and respite. Despite my best planning, I still ran out of liquids on my way down to Daisho-in Temple. Bottled cold green tea never tasted so good as when I finally got off the trail. After visiting the temple, I was still pretty hot, so I stopped for some shaved ice (kakigori). Melon seems to be a pretty popular flavor for cooling summer drinks and treats, so I went for that. Mouth frozen, body cooled, I went back outside refreshed. By that time, the tide had started to come in, so I visited the saffron-colored Itsukushima-jinja, a shinto shrine that seems to float on the water at high tide, before heading back to the mainland.

The gates of the Itsukushima-jinja at low tide

islands in the Inland Sea, seen from Mt. Misen

view of the island from Mt. Misen

The gates from within Itsukushima Shrine as the tide came in

shaved ice + melon syrup + condensed milk = refreshing kakigori goodness

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