|Early morning, Miyajima|
I woke early in Miyajima and had a couple of hours to spend while Mom and Dad slept. I went on a walk to the Mt. Misen ropeway station. It was so quiet and serene in the early morning. Momijidani park along the way was beautiful. I walked along the little river and sat in my new mental relaxation spot- you know, the one you picture when you have to think of a happy place? Yes, that was it! There were beautiful old houses/inn rooms, maple trees and a small waterfall.
I went back to the hotel to wake up the two sleeping beauties. I felt really badly because I could tell they were in deep sleep, but it was time for breakfast! We ate in a tatami room downstairs. Mom and Dad had the Western breakfast while I had the Japanese tray. It was pretty good although we established Mom and Dad are not “fish for breakfast” people.
|Views from Itsukushima|
We walked through the Itsukushima Shrine, which had been closed the previous day. The orange hallways were above sand this time since the tide was very low. The connected rooms and shrines were beautiful. On exiting the Shrine, we walked straight ahead to the Zen temple Daiganji, which was built in 1201-1203. The temple was in charge of the maintenance of several Shinto shrines on the island until the Shinto-Buddhism separation of 1868 in the Meiji Era. The shinbutsu bunri was a nationalistic policy to separate the two traditions since the Shinto religion was regarded as truly Japanese, while Buddhism was foreign. A lot of Buddhist temples were closed or converted but ultimately, Buddhism survived since Buddhism was the tradition most used for funerals and graves. (Please note, this is only a small snippet of historical explanation courtesy of the internet. One thing this trip has inspired me to do is learn more about Japanese history!).
|Right: Five-storied pagoda Left: Senjokaku|
Then, we walked uphill and up several stairs (this was to be a recurring theme of the vacation) to admire the five-storied pagoda up close and the Toyokuni Shrine (Senjokaku), the hall of 1000 tatami maps which is incomplete. The shrine was going to be a Buddhist library for the monthly chanting of sutra, but the sponsoring warlord died before construction was complete.
We walked along the (flat!) shopping main street and stopped in at an okomomiyaki shop where Mom and ate over 5 years ago (sagoy!). It was delicious and it was nice to refuel after all our walking. Perish the thought of a calorie deficit, ha ha!
|Atomic Peace Park|
Next, we took the ferry back to the mainland and headed to Hiroshima. We locked our bags in the station and tried to go to a Carp baseball game. No luck, sold out! Boo. So, we went to the Hiroshima Peace Park. We saw the Atomic dome, the Cenotaph that holds the names of the victims, the Peace Flame and the epicenter marker, which is actually outside the Peace Park. Before heading into the museum, we stopped for a quick refreshment at Cafe Ponte. The museum exhibits were extremely powerful. While it wasn’t a cheerful visit, all of us were so glad that we went.
|Walking through the Peace Park|
Once we finished going through the museum, we headed back to the train station and made our way up to Kyoto. We checked into the Mitsui Garden Hotel Sanjo, which was a great hotel! It was clean and comfortable, although maybe a touch small for Western tastes when sharing a room. I had a room to myself so I reveled in the space in my special hotel pajamas provided!