Do you ever have those days were the weather is perfect, the light is perfect, and nothing can mess with your travel mojo?
My husband had a work commitment in Iwakuni in the middle of October so – along with our daughter – we drove the four hours up to Hiroshima prefecture for what essentially amounted to a half hour meeting. However, as the meeting was on a Monday morning, we decided to spend the previous few days exploring a bit of the surrounding area. We had been to Hiroshima six years ago during our first year in Japan but I personally had never returned.
We spent Saturday seeing Hiroshima castle and eating the obligatory okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake) but Sunday, with its clear skies and perfect temperatures was reserved for the island of Miyajima. Miyajima is renowned as one of Japan’s three best views and its the home of Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Chances are you’ve seen pictures of the shrine’s massive torii gate, “floating” on the waters of Hiroshima Bay. The entire shrine appears ro sit on top of the waves when the tide is in. When it’s out, it’s simply sand and seaweed lying underneath the vermilion halls.
We timed our visit to try to coincide with high tide that day, which also meant it was near the end of the afternoon. The sun was well on its way down when we stepped onto the wooden planks of the entrance way around 4:30pm and it seemed that no matter in which direction we looked, the final rays were glinting perfectly off the water, the torii, the red-orange corridors and the pagoda on the hill. I took dozens of shots (thanking the technology gods once more for the gift of digital) but this one is probably my favorite.
Miyajima is a must if you are in the Hiroshima area but do try to time your visit to coincide with one of the daily high tides. It is absolutely worth waiting around to see the waves lapping at the edges of Itsukushima Shrine.