Day 10: Miyajima and Mt Misen hike

Trip Start Apr 08, 2010
Trip End May 06, 2010

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Flag of Japan  , Chugoku,
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let's make an efficient and synthetic post for once!

After O. goes to Nishiki market in Kyoto (see previous post), we take a Shinkansen Kodema train to Shin-Osaka. There we changed train and took a Shinkansen Hikari to Hiroshima. Shinkansen are still very impressive: right on time, very confortable and spacious.
At Hiroshima station, the easiest way to go to Miyajima, which is an island facing the city, is to take JR line when you have the JR pass. It takes 25 minutes to go to Mijamimaguchi station (vs. one hour in tram), and there you cross the street and take a JR ferry (still free with the pass).

From Kyoto to Miyajima ferry station, it is a 3h journey.

What interested us in Miyajima was the famous torii, one of the three most famous views of Japan, and the possibility to hike on top on Mount Misen.

We first checked in at Ryoso Kawaguchi's, the fantastic ryokan we were staying at (see the special post dedicated to that lovely place), put on our hiking gear, and left for Mount Misen.
On the way, we stopped off to have a look at the famous torii. The tide was medium at this time of the day and many people were enjoying the scenery from the shore.

We rapidly moved from there to take the trail heading to Mount Misen. Actually there are several trails, and we took the one recommended and well described in the Lonely Planet guide : Ohmoto course. It is supposed to be quite steep, and when we arrived in Ohmoto park where the trails starts, we met 3 japanese people who were surprised to see us taking the Ohmoto path, and they told us that it was very difficult and that it would take us at least 2 hours to make it...

That has not been enough to discourage us, and we kept going on. After a gentle ascent of the park, the trail actually becomes steep. The most annoying part of this path which makes it difficult is that there are stairs almost all the way long, and that trully breaks your legs !

We first arrived at Komogabayashi peak, which has a very nice view (almost 360) over Hiroshima bay and the other islands. Almost no one there except a japanese family having a lunch break while admiring the view.
We then continue the ascent to Mount Misen, and arrived there safely after (only !) 1h30 of hiking ! The path was steep indeed, especially the beginning until Komogabayashi peak, and it was exhausting, but it looks like we managed to keep the pace and stay in good shape ;-)

Mount Misen observatory also offers a breathtaking view over the bay and the islands. Three to four people there, who must have taken the ropeway to get to the top considering both the facts that they were not equipped for hiking and that we never crossed them on the trail.

We stayed for a while up there, before starting our descent to the Miyajima harbour, following the other path this time. We made the descent in 40 minutes and made an other stop at the torii gate while it was low tide. It was very funny to be able to come close and touch that massive piece of wood you can see on so many postcards and travel agencies !
And the scenery of the bay at low tide looked a lot like Brittany, which suddenly gave a european flavour to this moment.

We finally reached our ryokan just on time to have a private onsen before dinner.
(see the special post on the ryokan for more details on the dinner)

After dinner, we returned to the torii gate, since the tide was high at 23:30 and both the torii and the temple were illuminated until 23:00. Moreover, almost everybody had left the island and only few people were enjoying this postcard view.

What a perfect day !

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