My favourite photo!
Okay, get ready for it, this is going to be a bit of a marathon, but if you get tired reading it, imagine me cramming it all into one weekend.
Miyajima is a small island off of the coast near Hiroshima. It is home of the 3rd most photgraphed sites in Japan- the Itsukushima Shrine gate- I think I made it number 1 on the weekend the amoutn of photos I took!!! It is a very sacred island because of this shrine and therefore noone is allowed to die or give birth- there are no hospitals or cemetaries on the island- even though the population is over 2,000 and there is a school and kindergarten! It is also forbidden to cut down any trees, and so most of the island is covered in forest.
We arrived on Miyajima early Friday afternoon, after approx. 4 hours on the Shinkansen and a tram ride and a ferry. (The we i refer to is myself and Hiedi, Marissa was in Australia to be in a wedding, but has now returned bringing Twisties and Cherry Ripes, but more about that another time). Our first view of the island was of
It reminds me of Darth Vader
people- and deer! that just roam around freely and enjoy being fed and patted by the tourists. We walked along the main road by the beach to find our motel, and after walking past it three times, realised that the little restaurant we thought looked a bit dodgy was also our motel!! The rooms were small but good views and clean, the worst bit was squat toilets and not shower!! Thats right in a country obsessed with cleanliness amd hygiene there was no shower! We soldiered on, even after learning our curfew was 10.00. This didnt turn out to be a problem as everything on Miyajima shuts down about 7 (we were lucky to find one restaurant open or we wouldve been hungry) and the last ferry back form the mainland is 10.00- so no partying in downtown Hiroshima for these little Aussies!! Anyway we decided our first port of call would be the aquarium. We then checked out the shrine and watched the sun set over the torii gate. This was one of the best things I have done so far in Japan- I could hardly believe I was really there.
Saturday was our day reserved for Hiroshima-
we had decided however that we would stay in a youth hostel in Hiroshima on the Saturday night to save going all the way back out to Miyajima and we were hoping to allow us to soak up a bit of night life. So we woke early, climbed the mountain (the cable car did most of the climbing!) and said goodbye to Miyajima, the deer and the gate.
The Peace Park
Ok, I know Im a cry baby but I hadnt really thought about visiting the Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb and how it would affect me. Maybe I should have prepared myself a bit better, but from the time we crossed the bridge and stood in front of the Childrens Memorial to when we left the museum it was Armageddon all over again!!! (The part where Liv Tyler puts her hand on the screen after saying goodbye to Bruce- gets me every time). It was totally worthwhile and something i will never forget, but extremely draining. There was more to come however when we got to the youth hostel and they had organised a bomb survivor (hibakusha) to come and speak to us-
this was a marathon effort- he spoke Japanese and so would say something and then an American would translate- and lasted for two hours- full of gory detail. We were very lucky to experience this but it was an exhausting day!
Also (and probably luckily coz it was raining and we were stonkered) the youth hostel had an 11 o'clock curfew- still no nightlife!!!
On Sunday i woke refreshed and excited coz I was going to my first baseball match ever- and it was in Japan!! The Hiroshima Carps played the Chimichi Dragons and it was the perfect mood lifter after the heavy stuff the day before. The crowd was amazing and I have watched A League of their Own enough times to be able to follow what was going on.
By the time that fifnished it was time to get back on the good old Shinkansen and settle doen for a nap on the way home.. at least thats what we thought unitl we got on and there were no seats left, so we spent the 4 hour ride back either standing in the corridors or sitting on our bags. Hmm not so much fun.
But the mansion and Fuji and Sushi were waiting and it was good to be back.
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