JAPAN VACATION - HIROSHIMA & MIYAJIMA
I arrived in Hiroshima in the early afternoon. I did a quick ride of the city to get to the information center to make my arrangements to travel to Miyajima for a day trip. My plan was to do Miyajima that day, and do Hiroshima, and the Atomic Bomb museum and Memorial Park the following half-day before having to get back to Fukuoka.
From the train station I rode along and over Hiroshima’s two rivers. They have an excellent bike trail system, many beautiful parks, and as a city, it is relatively small. Maybe 2 miles from one end of town to the other.
To get to Miyajima, I bought a pass that would allow me unlimited rides on the streetcar, ferry and sky-cable car for about $25. I took the hour-long streetcar to the outskirts of town.
At the end of the line, I caught the ferry that would take me to Miyajima.
Miyajima is an island home to a vast history of historical relics and buildings, both Shinto and Buddhist.
The most famous of which is the O-torii Gate, also known as the Floating Gate.
It is also home to freely roaming deer who have no qualms coming up to you and eating your belongings.
The original Itsukushima Shrine was built in 593, then later rebuilt in 1168 on the same scale that it exists today. It has a 280 long corridor and more than 20 buildings.
Taken from the brochure: “Miyajima has been worshipped as a divine island since ancient times… The contrast of the blue sea, green hills and the vivid vermillion-lacquered shrine is breathtakingly beautiful.”
I walked around Miyajima taking in several sites as I made my way to the sky-cable car.
On my way to the sky-cable car I visitedDaishoin Temple. Very soon afterward my camera died. I found an outlet to charge my camera and took the 30 or so minutes to allow myself to be completely engaged, mindful and present in the moment. Completely present in what I was thinking. In what I was feeling. In the dark cavernous temple, illuminated by 1000 overhanging electric candles, I ran my hand over the bumpy nuances of the steel railing as I silently strolled through the dark temple hall, filled by the flickering low light. In yoga, we are often told to be “present.” Not having a camera was a gift. It allowed me to be present, aware and fully allowed me to be in the moment; entirely mindful of my peaceful emotion and my calm, beautiful, and mystical surroundings.
The Sky Cable Car gave me an amazing view of the inland Sea.
As I made my way back to the ferry terminal. I visited the O-torii Gate to take a few photos at sunset.
On the ferry back I was filled with the natural high that accompanies a genuine thrill. The reality of my solo adventure had sunk in. Seaward bound with the cool night wind on my face, I thought back to the heartbreak that had brought me to Asia initially, and couldn't help but feel a certain a ambivalence to it. Here I was in Japan riding a boat, bound back to Hiroshima, with a night full of discovery and boundless opportunity awaiting me. I could only smile as I thought: I am truly living my life.