Friday, 24 June 2016

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 2 - Day 11. A difficult climb in Miyajima

We were off to Miyajima for the day but before boarding the train we searched for somewhere to eat. Just outside the train station we spotted this set breakfast menu, 
at just ¥580 (about £4) it seemed like a bargain so in we went.

Everything was beautifully presented on the tray when it arrived. The breakfast included a drink, yogurt, potato salad, a thick slice of toast and some jam. It was a delicious breakfast that set us up nicely for the journey ahead, on to Miyashima went!

By the way, when I say thick slice of toast I mean really thick! 

We travelled to Miyajimaguchi station and jumped onto a ferry which would take us to Miyajima. The ferry was operated by JR (Japan Railways) which meant our JR passes could be used which was a real bonus.

Miyajima is famous for a number of things including the tame deer that roam the streets here. As soon as you sit down somewhere they come over to join you, often in the hope that you have some food for them.

Most visitors come here though to see the giant Torii gate of the sacred Itsukushima Shrine, at high tide it appears to float on the water. We arrived at low tide which meant we could take a closer look, we weren't the only ones!

Visitors frequently place coins on the legs and make a wish, the surrounding sand is covered in coins that get washed off the legs at high tide. 

There were plenty of group photos and selfies being taken around the Torii gate.

We escaped from the hoards of tourists by heading towards Mt Misen. My wife told me there was a choice of routes to take to reach the summit, with a small bottle of water in hand we made a start.  We passed beautiful waterfalls and streams through a fairytale like forest area, this didn't seem so difficult!

The route was well signposted but even in the shade of the trees it was a really hot day.

Suddenly we reached some steps, these lead to more and more steps that were really hard work to climb. Our bottle of water was fast running out and we had a 3km climb ahead of us. There was a cable car and two other easier routes we could have taken but an hour into the our climb there was no way we were going back now.

Occasionally we came across flat areas which gave us a much needed rest from relentlessly climbing steps. Near this area I can recall ice cold air blowing out from a crack in a stone wall, a cave maybe?

The average time to reach the top was two hours, we made it in just under that. My wife later told me we had taken the most difficult route which is used by experienced hikers, quite an achievement really! 

Never had a vending machine been such a welcome sight!

This ice cold cherry juice was really refreshing and much needed.

We wanted to walk to the very highest peak where there was a viewing platform, we spotted this chap on the way.

We passed a few of these on the way, just look at the beautiful colours on its tail! 

Most of the other people at the viewing tower were enjoying bento boxes they'd brought along with them. I had serious bento box envy, in reality though had I brought one with me it wouldn't have lasted till I reached the top anyway.

The views from up here were stunning and the distance we'd climbed was now clear to see.

We'd taken the orange route to reach the top and considered getting the cable car back down again. At ¥1000 though we decided to walk instead, besides it would be far easier going back down again.

Before walking back down again I bought a can of this, an old favourite from last time I was here. It's basically a jelly in a can with fruity lumps, I love it but my wife isn't a fan. This one was grape flavour, simply shake the can to break up the jelly and enjoy.

We passed a few knackered looking tourists going in the opposite direction on our journey down Mt Misen and finally reached the bottom again.

There are some incredible sights on Miyajima including this five storey pagoda, it looked stunning from every angle we viewed it from.

Back at the giant Torii gate the tide had come in, what a beautiful sight!

My wife got out her pencil and sketch book, an opportunity too good to miss.

There were plenty of deer to be found relaxing in the shade.

We spotted this in the shopping streets of Miyajima, it's said to be the worlds largest rice scoop at 7.7 metres long.

These were too tempting to pass by, which flavour though?

I chose caramel crunch, delicious!

Hmm.. As I reached below the cone the ice cream changed to vanilla. Miyajima is an amazing place to visit but prices are higher here and I'm told the food in the restaurants isn't great. It's a bit of a tourist trap so be prepared for this.

These were a local delicacy, I can't for the like of me remember what it tasted like though, sorry!

Back in Hiroshima we decided to visit a supermarket near closing time, we'd heard that the bento boxes get reduced in price then.

It seems this is true, we did get a bit confused though. Between 6pm and 7pm the reduced stickers went on, many with a price sticker of just ¥200. It turned out though that ¥200 was the reduction in price, not the cost of the bento box.

It was a difficult decision but this was our final choice, everything cost just under ¥1200 (about £8.50) My wife chose a fancy looking vegetable selection and some onigiri rice.

I chose some battered chicken in a sticky sweet sauce (well nice!) and some rice with a selection of meats and fish. Knackered from our long climb we enjoyed eating all this back at the hotel.

Click here for Day 12
Farewell Hiroshima, Hello Kyoto!

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