No, I am not off globetrotting again this weekend, I spent the day yesterday immersed in my Japanese language class and meeting a new friend which included practicing Japanese language. I learned I have a long way to go, but not as far as I did when I started these classes back in June!
This is part two of my little three day jaunt to Hiroshima. Today’s focus is mostly Miyajima.
Just a quick recap, I got into Hiroshima when it was dark and had gotten off my limousine bus, making my way to the Santiago Guesthouse (hostel). I do quite a bit of traveling over here because it is relatively inexpensive. I had earned a bunch of airline miles from my trip back to the States, so this was a free flight. The hostel was $65 for two nights and the limousine bus was less than $25, so for less than $100, I had a three day weekend…in Hiroshima..in Miyajima!
The city was much more bustling than I had thought it would be. I didn’t really know what to expect, but there was a good energy there, maybe so much death brought forth the embrace for life.
So in the morning, I headed off to the Peace Park and had visited what I needed to see. I was feeling emotionally overwhelmed and had planned on the possibility of Miyajima to lighten the mood. I’m so glad I did.
I looked up the train schedule and headed off to Hondori Station, which has these fabulous underground markets, filled with all kinds of clothing, bags, sporting equipment and restaurants everywhere. I found my train and headed off to a transfer train which will then bring me to the Miyajima Ferry.
Everything was going good, I was on a crowded train and just people watching…one of my favorite things to do…and I see my stop is approaching. I listened to the announcement and heard something about Miyajima Guchi (my stop) and then we were approaching the stop. So off I go, and two other ladies with me. I got to the station guard and these two ladies were ahead of me talking to him. I could figure out that they too were going to the ferry but we apparently got off at the wrong place. I looked at them and laughed and said, ‘onaji’, which means ‘same’. They laughed, grabbed my arm and we bought tickets together and were friends for the day. We separated out as we got off the train but then met up as we walked toward the ferry.
As we disembarked from the ferry we were greeted with crowds…crowds like I haven’t experienced since being in Tokyo. I am not a crowds person, if not for my two companions, I would have gotten my shots and got the heck out of Dodge City…but they led the way and I followed. These are the things I think I am supposed to be challenging myself on…going into situations that I have pulled back from my whole life, that is my purpose of being here in Japan. In I went, the deer were all over the place, they were like dogs at a dinner table, putting their noses in bags, on plates, into garbage cans.
The streets were lined with stalls and I heard one lady chastising someone…you can pick up on that tone no matter what language you speak…and she was pushing a deer out of her stall with a broom!
We waded into the crowds and stood in a very long line for the Itsukushima Shrine. We got to the window and one of the ladies paid my way, over my strong protestations!
The photo at the top of the page is the famous great Torii at the floating shrine. The photo was taken at low tide, but water fills the space at high tide and it is stunning. So, there is no way I can describe or go into the history of this place. Check out this site, their pictures are almost as good as mine! http://visit-miyajima-japan.com/en/culture-and-heritage/spiritual-heritage-temples-shrines/sanctuaire-itsukushima.html
After visiting the shrine, we were hungry and found a nice little restaurant. I’ve been attempting to eat all the local specialties when I go to a new place, and the winter oysters are reputed to be incredible. They lived up to their reputation. Wow, very delicious.
We got back on the ferry so that we could get back to our destinations before dark. The ladies were buying some dried squid snacks as omiyage and I feel a little tug on my backpack. One of the ladies was stuffing omiyage in for me! I tried to say no and pay them, but they were not having it! The other one then turns and hands me a bag…I gave up. You cannot defeat two very determined Japanese women! We got back on the trains and they were going somewhere beyond me. They started talking to a couple and looked as if they had struck an agreement. They introduced me to the couple who would be my escorts to the next station! I thought that was hysterical. But we met and parted as friends until we meet again. The couple walked me to my next transfer and waved goodbye!
Travelers over here only need to be friendly and willing to laugh at themselves…a lot! Someone will always be put in your path to help you…when the student is ready, the master will appear. Indeed.
Pepper Walling, what is it about you and me meeting in airports?
I spent the rest of the night visiting the Peace Park and wandering around the night markets of Hondori Street, immersing myself in the flow of human energy.
At the airport, I encountered a friendly little robot and UltraMan and Godzilla. And I was off to my little city of Ginowan.
Next trip is Hokkaido for Thanksgiving, a little city called Otaru which is known for their music boxes, then on to the big city of Sapporo!
Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!