Thursday Off–in Miyajima!

For my day off, I wanted to get out of the apartment and go somewhere, so after going to Mori cafe, I decided to head off to Miyajima! Miyajima-guchi station is only about 20 mins from Waki by train, and it’s a great place to hike and buy gifts. It was a great day to go–the weather was warm, but not too hot, and since it was Thursday, there weren’t many people. A lot of the people who were there were foreign tourists, though haha.

This is also a preview for you, Mom and Dad, who will be coming to Japan and can potentially visit this place if you want to! For us to see everything, I think it’ll take one day. I think it’d be smarter for us to take the cable car up and walk down, instead of the reverse, which I did today^^;;

When I got to Miyajima, the tide was low, and people could walk out and take pictures by the huge torii gate that Miyajima is famous for.

There are 3 courses you can take to go hiking in Miyajima–I read online that the Daishoin Course is the easiest, so if possible, I wanted to visit it. The Daishoin Course is named after the temple of that name that’s near the beginning of the course–I’ll post pictures of that and talk about temples a little in a later post, I think. Hiking at Miyajima is just like going on a hike in the U.S., except that there are temples, shrines, and little idols everywhere (especially more when you get to the top). It wouldn’t be an honest post about hiking in Miyajima if it only included nature and not all the man-made things that people come to see, too.

These steps lead up to the temple. I’ll talk more about that, later. (My Facebook album for this trip has 172 photos, and this is down from around 400–so you can see how much effort I’m putting in to condense this into one post, haha.) In the meantime,if you don’t want to wait for that post and would rather get a sneak peak, here’s the link to my album.

There was a lot to see at this temple, and the little paths that I took everywhere took up enough time that I wondered if I’d be able to make it the 90 mins up the hill before it got dark. A sign warns you (in English and in Japanese) not to hike after 3:00pm because the hiking trails get dark faster since they’re in a valley. I think I started going up around 1:45pm.

The trail starts going up here. Hello, large stone torii gate.

It’s time to begin the trek up Mt. Misen! The trail is on the left, and a rocky river bed is at the center. On the far right (not pictured) is the aforementioned Daishoin Temple.

I want to take this time to mention how much I love the way the houses looked on top of the stone walls! I never get tired of seeing this:

Part of the way up, I passed a couple of non-Japanese (like my creative circumvention of the word “foreigner”? haha) tourists from Germany and Holland. When I sat down to rest they caught up to me, and we ended up going to the top together. I was glad, because even though I didn’t mind going up on my own, I wasn’t sure if I should give up halfway or not and go back down. I’d read that the cable car going back down stops after 5:00pm, and even though I had plenty of time, I hadn’t checked the daily times and I wasn’t too keen on walking the whole way down as it got dark if the times changed. But, since I found a couple partners to scale the mountain with, I found the resolve to go all the way to the top! It’s good, too, because I might’ve given up when coming to places like these:

AHHHHH, it just goes up and up and up…!!! It was still fun though, even though our clothes were soaked with sweat and we were kinda dying, haha. The deer in Miyajima don’t seem to have a problem with this, though. We were still finding deer all the way up the mountain! They get all excited when they hear crinkling plastic because they think you have food, but I guess that hasn’t made them lazy.

The guy we were hiking up with had his shirt off (because it’s hot!), and when we came to a temple towards the top of the mountain, a Buddhist monk there told him “Not naked!” and the guy put his shirt back on. I’d sort of had some thought cross my mind like, “guys hiking without shirts in Japan might seem immodest” (none of the other men were doing it), but I didn’t clearly think about it until then. I think the reason I was a bit surprised was that this public space (Miyajima Island, and the hiking areas) is outdoors and for hiking; it makes sense that not wearing a shirt inside a religious building or even inside a business/restaurant would be taboo, but since we were in a “hiking space” I guess I found it permissible. We were talking afterword about how it’s because the temple area is considered sacred. Maybe having “sacred space” (temple) in the same area as “non-sacred space” (hiking trail) can do that…although you could argue that Miyajima as a whole is considered “sacred space” (I read that on a website somewhere). I tried to compare it to someone going shirtless outside a church but still on church grounds, haha, but it still doesn’t quite work. It’s just the temple area that’s like that, though–a couple weeks ago when the middle school guys were doing kumitaisou/those gymnastic-type activities where they lift each other over their heads and stuff, they all took off their shirts for that (I assume so their feet wouldn’t slip). Obviously, it’s okay when swimming, too.

Also, an example of one of the shrines lining the trail. Note that “shrine”=”Shinto” and “temple”=”Buddhism.”

We fiiiiiinally reached the top!!!! I really appreciated that t-shirt, because you can’t tell I’m sweaty and gross haha. The words come from the David Crowder song, “How He Loves.”

There’s an observatory at the top, too. I’d read somewhere that it wasn’t that spectacular, but I still wasn’t quite prepared for this, haha.

It looks like…a historical preserved building that you’re not supposed to climb on, lol. There was a little shop on the first floor, and we went in and bought ¥300 shaved ice (mine was maccha, and my friend got lemon…they were laughing because it looked like yellow snow^^;). The second floor had some boards lying around, and everything was rusty^^; But it did what it needed to do. We went to the top floor and took amazing pictures. That’s all you can ask of an observatory, really. (It had telescopes up there, as well as signs indicating the names of the different islands you can see from there. So, technically speaking, if you wrote about this observatory in a magazine, it would sound the same as any other one, hahaha).

Yeah. It’s pretty nice up there. I don’t know what I can really say to add to this picture.

We parted ways, as my friends wanted to save money (¥1000, which is a little over $10) for a one-way ride down the mountain. I took the cable car down, and I’m assuming they walked it. Haha, I thought about it…but there was just no way.

The cable car ride happens in different segments, kind of like when the ski lift lingers at the bunny hill and then goes to the top level. At first, we were all in one car like the pic above, and then we reached a level where we got into smaller cars. I ended up in a car with four other girls my own age~! Yay~! We had a nice conversation, and I ended up showing them pictures of my family and stuff, haha. We took a picture afterwards, too! What you don’t know about this picture is that we took it 5 times with 5 different cameras^^; Mine was #2, so maybe our smiles are still fresh, haha.

I was happy how this day turned out^^ I really wasn’t sure what to do with a random Thursday off, because I contacted a couple of people who weren’t able to hang out (because…uhh…it’s Thursday haha). However, I feel like I went to Miyajima by myself and came back with friends!^^

By then, I really didn’t want to cook anymore, so here was part of my dinner from Marukyuu. It looks like there’s a daisy on my sashimi. I wonder if I’m supposed to eat that…? I’ve just been throwing it away.

Ah, my room is a mess^^; It goes to show you, though–if it’s between cleaning my room and climbing a mountain, I might just choose climbing a mountain. At this rate, I’m never going to get organized lol.

4 thoughts on “Thursday Off–in Miyajima!

  1. This looks like our kind of activity. I can’t wait to visit. No worries about man-made. It’s better than the modern “art” I had to endure driving to Napa yesterday!

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