Miyajima, or Shrine Island, is officially known as Itsukushima and is just a short ferry ride away from mainland Japan. I was excited to see an example of a floating torii so I hopped on a train for a quick day trip to the island.
Unfortunately for me, a metal cage surrounded the torii, and I assumed it meant it was under construction. Despite this, I didn’t let it dampen my spirits. I continued along and visited Itsukushima Jinja, which is also located above the water on a pier-like boardwalk. Walking along wooden planks allowed us to traverse the expanse of the shrine. The day I was there, a couple was getting married in a traditional ceremony. It was truly interesting to see the ceremony, which appears to be much more formal than a Western service.
Next I decided to climb Mount Misen for what I hoped would be a wonderful view of the surrounding area. Although only 513 meters high, visitors can use the Miyajima ropeway to get closer to the peak. I opted for good old fashion foot power and was rewarded with a great hike through a green forest.
When I finally arrived at the top (having passed some Japanese girls trying to hike up in heels), I was grateful for a rest. I took a few minutes to take in my surroundings as I caught my breath. The view from the top was amazing. A thick fog enveloped the surrounding islands and made them look full of secrets and adventures waiting to be found. Deer pranced about from rock to rock in search for a free handout. Even with all the other people around, this place held a magic that’s indescribable.
The way down the mountain was much quicker and easier. I took a different route and walked through a more rocky terrain. It was a nice change of pace from the woods. Some of the waterways seemed to be dammed up so perhaps the town used it as its main water source. I also passed what looked like another religious building – some kind of temple or religious school.
Even though I wasn’t able to see the floating torii, my main reason for coming to Miyajima, I was still happy I made the journey. It turned out to be a wonderful day trip that held many beautiful natural surprises. I was able to appreciate a more serene part of Japan that is by natural wonders.