Following our sober, reflective time at the Peace Park we jumped on a Green route bus and made our way to the station. There we boarded a train for Miyajima-Guchi station. On our arrival we just followed the crowd down to the wharf only to see a JR boat heading off towards the island. However it wasn’t that long before another returned and we were on our way. Sadly it was a really misty grey sky, one of the rare days like it we had experienced in Japan.
As we approached the island we noticed not only the famous orange tori gate in the water but to our dismay some grey scaffolding around one of its pillars, as if it had a broken leg.
On leaving the boat hundreds of us grouped towards the town. However when many took the turn towards the commercial centre of the town we kept to the waterfront promenade. Here we encountered the first of many deer, just like we had in Nara previously.
At the point we had a good view to the tori gate. Quite a few stand up paddle boarders were there and the occasional boat ferrying tourists around the nearby waters.
We passed by the main temple as it was being cleaned and there was already a huge queue. Perhaps we would have a better view of the tori gate from the other side of the little inlet in which it was positioned. Around we walked. Very few people had come this way so I was even able to set up our camera on timer and take an old fashioned version of the ‘selfie’ with the tori gate in the background.
Our travel mascot, Kirby, also posed for a photo. You can see how mournful he was about the weather and the scaffolding too.
At one point Karen had thought we might even take a ropeway (cable car) up one of the mountains above the main town but due to the misty, cloudy weather it would have been a waste of money only to see clouds. So we headed back towards the commercial centre to look for some lunch. Along the way we came to the back of the temple complex so I leant over the wall to take a photo with the five level pagoda in the background.
After I took it Karen pointed out a huge spider web and a rather large colourful spider in it.
Nearer to town a surprise sighting of a wedding couple being transported in a rickshaw took our eye.
Once in town we browsed around the cafes and food stalls. In the end we purchased a few skewers of grilled chicken, prawns and vegetables. Karen was also delighted to find this huge soft toy version of Totoro from Gibli movie, My Neighbour Totoro.
We also spotted this huge wooden spoon, a symbol of the island, on display.
Given the cloudy weather it was no use waiting for a sunset that wasn’t going to happen so we headed back to the wharf. As it turned out a few hundred others had the same idea as you can see from this queue.
The good news was that the ships were able to carry hundreds at a time and we returned via the next train to Hiroshima.
Once again we were very pleased at how useful our JR Rail Pass had been. If you want to travel independently in Japan we highly recommend purchasing one.