A Bit of Hatsukaichi

This post is a mixture of other things that we saw in the island aside from O-Torii, Itsukushima Shrine and Mount Misen and some part of Hatsukaichi. It’s a combination of other interesting areas that we saw and discovered while walking around the Hatsukaichi.

Gojunoto (5 Storied Pagoda)

After spending time watching or looking with O-Torii, we decided to move forward to see more of the island. We followed the direction in the map that we had so we can reach the summit of Mount Misen. Along the way we saw Gojunoto or 5 Storied and colorful Pagoda. While checking information about this pagoda that stands out in the island from Miyajima’s official website (http://visit-miyajima-japan.com/), the structure said to able to resists horizontal oscillation caused by earthquakes and typhoons. And because of that, this kind of structure is really amazing because with the way it was built it will last a long time.

 

 

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Gujonoto (5 Storied Pagoda)

Treasure Hall

Even though we haven’t got a chance to get inside this hall because of time (descended the mountain around 5PM), most tourist attractions were close and only can be seen from outside. I just learned that this Treasure Hall keeps thousand valuables and cultural items which mostly came from Heike Clan. According to history, Heike (Taira) Clan adapted a son name Taira Na Koyimori whom got rid of the pirates in Seto Inland Sea (where Miyajima is located), whom established the first samurai-based government in Japan and whom also built mighty Taira Clan. We got a chance to see this hall after descending Mount Misen on our way to Itsukushima Shrine.

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Taira No Kiyomori Statue

This is the statue of Taira No Kiyomori status which displayed not far from Miyajima Port. As I mentioned above, Taira No Kiyomori was a significant historical figure in Japan whom at first became a governor of Aki (One part of the old region of Hiroshima) Province and became a Prime Minister in Japan.

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Daiganji Temple

Niomon Gate

At the time that we saw Niomon Gate for Daiganji Temple, a portion of the Daiganji temple is under maintenance. The temple is said to be Koyosan Branch of the Shingon denomination of Buddhism.

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Niomon Gate (front) and Daiganji Temple (rightmost at the back of Niomon Gate)

Gomado Hall

Another part of Daiganji Temple is Gomado Hall, where on its front the Fire Walking Ritual happens every year but during our visit, it wasn’t the season of festival. But still good to know.

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Ishidorii (Stone Torii)

A torii made of stone where you can see Otorii (Grand Gate) from a far. I can sense that this Torii is somewhat an introduction and letting people know that you are in the right direction to see O-Torii.

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Omotesando Shopping Arcade

We had a chance to walk a bit in Omotesando Street but unfortunately because it’s dawn, most of the local shops were already closed. With those few shots of the street, the old local town ambiance in the island is still notable.

 

UNESCO – The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine

A mark of UNESCO and an information that a World Heritage Site exist in the island, The Itsukushima Shinto Shrine.

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Miyajima Port

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On the way to Miyajima Port

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Around Miyajima Port

Hatsukaichi, Hiroshima

On our way back to Hiroshima from the island, the snapshot of City of Hatsukaichi below was captured.

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Miyajimaguchi Pier

 

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JR Miyajimaguchi Station

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Mount Misen – A Bit of Trek to Miyajima Island’s Sacred Mountain

Instead of exploring first the Itsukushima Shrine, I decided to visit the Mount Misen because it seems that we need to spend more time in the mountain than in the shrine as I am expecting that there some part of the mountain that we may need to trek or climb. From the viewing area of O-Torii which just below or near Toyokuni Shrine, we followed the pathway to Momijidani Station wherein we passed the 5 Storied Pagoda, Itsukushima Shrine, office of Itsukushimi Shrine and a small town nearby. In Momijidani Station, there is a regular mini-bus available that pick-ups the visitors of Mount Misen. The bus will dropped all the passengers at Momidijani Park Entrance where the Momijidani Ropeway Station is just near. The mini bus is a regular service back and forth between stations. When I was looking at the map of Miyajima, I just realized that the park within the mountain seems a great place to discover as well but due to limited time we have, I snapped out the idea and focus on reaching the top or summit of the mountain.

While waiting for the bus, one of the local store owners approached us and showed us that we can buy ticket in their store and it seems the person is legitimate, we bought the ticket for our Mount Misen adventure in their store and other people does as well. The bus arrived and the good thing about it, all the four of us able to hopped on the bus from the queue we lined-up. It’s not really a long distance travel but because the area is already part of the mountain, the walk or let’s say the trek will not be an easy. We reached the bus stop and we walked-up a bit to Momijidani Ropeway Station. At the station, there is an office that you can also buy the tickets, since we already bought ours, we went straight to the stairs up to where the cable car is.

 

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There are two types of cable car that we rode up to the Shishiiwa Station. First was a Gondola lift and second was Aerial Tramway. In Gondola lift, only the four of us got in which means we have exclusivity in the ride and we enjoyed our flightseeing up to the  to of the mountain. When we reached the middle station or Kayatani Station, we transferred to another lift and we took the aerial tramway where it fits more people. We are the last group to get in the tram and that means we do not have great position to take photo during flightseeing but our eyes enjoyed the scenery on our way to Shishiiwa Station.

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Shishiiwa Station Observatory Hall

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Shishiiwa Station Observatory Hall (captured after descending the summit)

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Shishiiwa Observatory

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Mount Misen Map

We reached Shishiiwa Station where there is great observatory nearby. We spent time taking photos in the observatory and of course we took time to enjoy the sceneries. We found a map that Shishiiwa Station was not yet the summit of the mountain. I talked to my family and asked everyone who wants to see more of the mountain. Three of us agreed to come to the top and my mother decided to stay in Shishiiwa, she just stayed inside the station.

 

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Sceneries at Shishiiwa Observatory (Part 1)

 

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Sceneries at Shishiiwa Observatory (Part 2)

 

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Sceneries at Shishiiwa Observatory (Part 3)

 

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Sceneries at Shishiiwa Observatory (Part 4)

Our adventure continues in the mountain together with my sister and my father. We followed the track and the stairs to the summit. We reached the first place where we can rest and from the map it was the place where the following halls stands: Akaido Hall, Misenhondo Hall and Rekaido Hall (Eternal Fire Hall). With regards to Rekaido Hall or Eternal Fire Hall and sometimes called as Eternal Flame Hall is believed that the fire exist with more than 1200 years, if that was really true then its an amazing facts about the hall. My sister got tired and I decided to go up all the way to the summit. I thought that I am the only one who want to go up to the summit until I saw my father  following me. Along the way, we saw another halls in the mountain: Sankido Hall, Kanondo Hall and Munjudo Hall. I thought the trek will never end until I just arrived in the summit of the mountain where Mount Misen Observatory located.

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Captured on the way before reaching Eternal Fire Hall area

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Misenhondo Hall

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Reikado Hall (Eternal Fire Hall)

 

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Sankido Hall

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Kannondo Hall and Munjudo Hall

 

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Scenery near Kannondo Hall and Munjudo Hall

At the summit we enjoyed the beautiful sceneries that surrounds the island. My father and I took photos of each other together with sceneries as our souvenir in the summit. After sometime we both decided to descend the summit since the time announcement that the last trip of the aerial tramway is up to 5PM in the afternoon. If we will missed it, it means that we will trek the mountain with our own legs and I was not sure if my family will be able to do that. When we descended the mountain, we used the same trail though based on the map there was another trail to go down the mountain and we never took that as we need to meet my mother back to Shishiiwa Station and we have to take the same lift we had when going up the mountain to go down too.

 

Fudo-iwa (Acala Rock)

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Kuguri-iwa (Duck under rock)

 

 

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At Mount Misen Summit Sceneries

 

At Mount Misen Summit

 

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Mount Misen Observatory

We took the aerial tram and gondola lift from Shishiiwa Station to Kayatani Station and gondola lift again to Momijidani Station. We waited for the bus and go back to the bus stop where we started earlier our trip to the top of the mountain.

 

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On our way to the ground

We passed few local stores and the office of Itsukushima Shrine. After mountain adventure, next stop was the World Heritage Site – Itsukushima Shrine.

Itsukushima Shrine – The Famous Floating Shrine

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Itsukushima Shrine on our way to Mount Misen

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Sori-bashi (Arched Bridge)

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Tenjin Shrine

We descended Mount Misen past 5PM in the afternoon. Before we reach the Exit of the shrine, we had seen some part of the shrine from the outside such as Sori-bashi or Arched Bridge and Tenjin Shrine. We started the exploration of Itsukushima Shrine from the Exit. We do not entered the shrine in a normal way. At the exit or what they called West Corridor, there was a sign that it was an exit and no entry and we broke that instructions. Because we were nearer in Exit than in the Entrance of the shrine, I decided to enter the shrine using the exit walkway. I just decided to pay our ticket once we reached the entrance. I knew that it was wrong and I admitted that as an honestly mistake.

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West Corridor

While walking along the corridor of the shrine and seeing around the place, I can say that it is interesting to have such structure with lively colors similar to O-Torii and also stands in the sea. The shrine was registered as World Heritage site few years after the Second World War and it was mentioned based on their history that the main shrine was built around 6th century. Looking in a such place that stands by time, natural weather changes and even calamities such as typhoons and earth quakes amazed me how great such structure to stand a long time. Of course I understand that it is being maintained but to last it until our time for me is wonderful. The shrine is a Buddhist shrine and they may believe that it is because of divine intervention, the other people may believe because of the science behind how the shrine was built, whatever the reason is, I myself wish that this kind of structure stands longer so that the next generation will still witness the historical building still standing in the sea.

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Nishi Kairo (West Corridor)

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Noh Stage

 

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Nishi-Kairo (West Corridor)

We followed the corridor and continued our walk. Along the way, we saw the stone lanterns which sometimes dismantled and placed in corridor so that during high tide, it prevent to raise the floor due to the sea. Next we saw were Noh Stage, Taka-Butai and Marodo Shrine. We reached the open stage or Hira-Butai where we enjoyed viewing O-Torii and the sea, we stopped there a bit to take photos of the beautiful scenery that surrounds the shrine.

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Taka-Butai

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Marodo Shrine

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To Higashi-Kairo (East Corridor)

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One of the stone water basin we found

From the open stage or Hira-Butai, we walked back to the corridor until we found the main shrine which called Honden located at the center of the shrine just straight from Taka-Butai. We spent time to looked and observed what’s inside the main shrine and I took some photos of it. From Honden, we walked again in a corridor called Higashi Kairo (East Corridor) until we passed the Marodo Shrine. Then, we found another stone water basin where we tried to drink the fresh water on it. We reached the entrance and we paid our tickets for the shrine.

 

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Main Shrine (Honden)

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Lantern we found near the Main Shrine and Walkway (to Higashi Kairo – East Corridor)

 

Higashi Kairo – East Corridor

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The Entrance

 

O-Torii – A Boundary Between the Spirits and the Human Worlds

As I mentioned from my previous post entitled “Miyajima Island – Island of Gods” that introduced a bit of Miyajima Island, on the way to the island while we were in the ferry, I had a chance to see O-Torii during high tide. And I was amazed of what I witnessed because the sceneries were all picturesque for me.

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O-Torii while in the JR Ferry

From the local restaurant that we had lunch we walked along the pathway near the shore where some local stores are available on the left side and on the right side the O-Torii was already visible from a far.

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O-Torii (Grand Gate) is a symbol of Miyajima Island and the belief that surrounds it is that Great Torii is the boundary between the spirits and human worlds (reference: visit-miyajima-japan.com). Learning that facts is one of the interesting  information I got for the said island and it was a way to understand a bit why the island seems to be sacred to Japanese.

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O-Torii

When we were closer with O-Torii, the water subsided a bit compared to the high tide that I saw while in the ferry. Seeing such structure on the inland of the sea was pretty amazing but to learn more that it stands on its weight was more mind-blowing. Because of that fact, natural calamities that passed by in Japan did not affect the Grand Gate and as we can see, it still magnificently stands to where it is.

After few hours in Mount Misen, we descended the mountain the same way we reached the summit which includes trekking, riding a cable car and taking a bus.

When we reached the ground, we explored the Itsukushima Shrine.

O-Torii and the surrounding area (water subsided)

After the exploration to the sacred shrine of Itsukushima, my sister and I walked down to the O-Torii since the land was dry from sea water due to low tide. We had a chance to approach the Grand Gate and we had lots of photos of it.

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Up close and personal with O-Torii

Precious Moment In The Mountain : Mount Misen

Precious Moment In The Mountain (Post#24) : Mount Misen

While roaming around in Japan, one of the mountain that we had a chance to visit and even had a chance to trek a bit was Mount Misen. Mount Misen is considered as sacred mountain in Miyajima Island (Itsukushima Island). We enjoyed the scenery while we were on our way to the top through gondola and tram lift. And more when I reached the summit of the mountain. The photo above shows some of the islands that are visible from the mountain. Photo snapshot captured last September 2015.

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Miyajima (Itsukushima) Island – “Island of Gods”

After we decided to visit Miyajima Island that day, we walked back to Hiroshima Station from the hotel to take JR Sanyo Line. We used our JR Pass when we took the train and we got off at Miyajimaguchi Station. From the station we walked a little bit and we took JR ferry (other ferry available is Matsudai Kisen) using our JR Pass. The said ferry brought us from Miyajima Guchi to Miyajima Island. The travel time to the island was around 10-15 minutes.

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Onboarding JR Ferry

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Looking towards Hiroshima City while on our way to Miyajima Island

On the way to the island, I felt fascinated with the torii gate of Itsukushima Shrine, while in the ferry I was able to see the gate with high tide that makes the gate so wonderful. When we reached the pier of the island, first thing we did was having lunch in one of the local restaurant in the island not far from the pier which has old township design. Inside the restaurants settings was Japanese traditional home style from its table, flooring, seats and its overall interior has all Japanese ambiance.

Miyajima Pier (Miyajima Port)

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Local Restaurant we had our lunch

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Different variety of Okonomiyaki

When I did my research about Hiroshima, I found that there is famous menu not to be missed while visiting Hiroshima and I learned that is called Okonomiyaki. In the restaurant that we had lunch in the island we ordered variety of Okonomiyaki. I can’t remember the specifics and because my family was not really a food adventurer, I decided to take 3 orders for the 4 of us which was enough as they serve it full in big plates they used. And to be honest, we enjoyed the food. My whole family seems to be satisfied specially my mother whom somewhat picky and does not like to try unfamiliar menus in the table. We’ve got full and enjoyed the restaurant for a while.

After the lunch we started our exploration to the island. I am curious why the island is special and why it was considered to be one of the Best Views or Top Scenic Spots in Japan.

The following significant interests that we discovered while roaming around the island are:

O-Torii (Grand Gate)

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Itsukushima Shrine

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Mount Misen

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Miyajima’s Temples / Halls

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I will post separate articles of the things we saw and experienced on these significant places.

Until then.