Iwakuni to Hiroshima via Miyajima

A quick start along the coastal road and within an hour we were boarding a ferry to Miyajima. It is Sunday morning – a fine hazy day. Perhaps the industry we pass with white stuff billowing out of the smoke stacks contributes to the haze?Miyajima is a small island and a short 5 minute ferry ride. On first impressions we see just offshore, the giant, orange Great Torii Gate is partially submerged at high tide. It marks the entrance to the Itsukushima Shrine, which was first built in the 12th century. It is just after 9am and the tourists are out and about and leaders with their placards leading through the shrine areas. We do the obligatory pics with the Torii Gate along with many others – deer are another attraction here as they have the run of the island and congregate around the tourist precinct foraging for food.We refrain from doing the whole shrine and folklore buildings inside – I’m sure there are many treasures to be seen.The five storied pagoda is iconic and towers over the bay, no entry possible but have great views from the ground level.We venture through the gardens to the level of the ropewalk. Lovely bush settings with trees of various foliage from greens to red.We have been here for 2 hrs and it’s obvious that the visitors have increased – we turn into a street that is the first total touristy area I’ve seen in Japan – people everywhere and shops selling nick-nacks and food!!! This area is known for seafood, in particular oysters, indicative of the oyster farms that we have seen on the coastal road. It is 11am and the tourists are right into their 11’s – tempanyakis, oysters, icecreams, pork buns – you name it food is being consumed. I indulge in a tempanyaki octopus – 2 tentacles.As we leave we notice the throngs of people arriving – 2 ferry lines arriving at 15 minutes intervals.Back to the mainland and on our way to Hiroshima – we are bedded near the Peace Park – a nice open area – lots of people – we will not venture into the museum today – we saw one in Nagasaki- I’m sure it will be similar.Our dinner did not disappoint – 30m away is an Okonomiyaki restaurant – such a treat okonomiyaki is described as a savoury pancake … far from it … not only delicious but the whole experience was entertaining. Shoes off first then sit on bar stools at the long teppanyaki plate and kitchen and be entertained by the 2 young chefs as they prepare meals. It was hard to keep track of what was going on as the chefs exchanged ingredients. The end result was delicious.A warm night and walk the Peace Park by name and nature, budding photographers getting those mystic night shots, people just relaxing on the many benches watching the river reflections; meanwhile back in the shopping arcade the department stores are closing … it’s 8pm, plenty of activity coming from cafes and restaurants and the many pachinko parlors around.

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