Spelling tori

Trip Start Jan 05, 2010
Trip End Jan 22, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Chugoku,
Thursday, January 14, 2010

i left koyasan at 9am. took a bus to koyasan station. took the cable car to gokurabashi. took a train to hashimoto. transfered to a train headed for shin-imaya. transferred to the osaka loop to osaka station. transfered to shin-osaka. boarded the shinkansen (bullet train) and headed to hiroshima. transferred to the train for miyajimaguchi. arrived at my hostel at about 3:30. simple. easy. fun.

oh, how the exhaustion of travel was worth it. the really is a beautiful area. it's kind of similar to seattle... just a super asian version. i'm surrounded by mountains and water. my  kind of city.

a short ferry ride away is the island of miyajima, home of the famed "floating tori gate" and 1 of japan's 3 best views (the top of mount misen). and i think the island lives up to the billing quite well. it's well kept. clean. traditional. easy to navigate. and not too terribly expensive.

on the first night, i got there at low tide so i was able to walk pretty close to the tori gate which was pretty neat. then i just wandered about town for a little bit and tried a few different versions of the famous mamiji manju which is a maple leaf shaped pancake that is traditionally filled with bean paste... and that didn't taste too terrible... but i prefered the chocolate, raisin, and chestnut cream ones. i also had a really good steamed rice dough ball filled with beef and i had the best ice cream cone i have ever had in my life. the booth was a little small and easy to miss, but i'm really glad i didn't. the man took vanilla ice cream and mixed in peaches and put that into a hot sweet-bread cone... SO GOOD. i will probably go back just for another one before i leave town. i need to try the blueberry or strawberry versions. I NEED TO.

in the morning i took a sea kayak trip. i was pretty unsure when i was taking the train to the launch point... it was cold, windy, cloudy, and snowing.... but i stayed the course. it was just me and the owner of paddle park (who's name i can't remember, let alone spell... but a real top-notch guy). and as soon as we got into the water, the clouds parted, the wind calmed, and the snow stopped. it wasn't long into our paddling that i was taking off my hat and regretting all my layers... well... almost. our trip took us across the harbor, through the tori gate, and back. all for only 6,000 yen. well well worth it. it's a definite must do if you visit miyajima.

after kayaking i took the ferry back to the island and hiked up one of the three trails to the top of mount misen. there isn't too much to discuss about the hike besides saying that it's about 2 hours of stairs.... which caused me to mostly think about how terrible of a job somebody had, laying all this stonework up a mountain. terrible.

the top of mount misen really does have one of the top views of japan. you can see the sea, the mountains, and everything in between. well worth the hike... just remember to bring a beverage. i forgot to buy one before i left, so i had to spend 300 yen on some pocari sweat (gatorade type drink) when it's generally about 120 yen when not on top of mountains.

i was wiped and my hip and knee decided that they were done for the day, so i took the cable car down... which ended up being worth the money for the view it provided.

i'm here in winter which is the off-season, and it's awesome. in the spring there are cherry blossoms and the fall brings colors of all the maple trees. i don't think there would ever be a wrong time to visit miyajima.
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