Grandpa Don returned home to Texas this past Sunday, and we miss him! During the last few days of his trip we visited Hiromshima. We packed in so much during the four days we spent there that I’m breaking up our Hiroshima visit into a few posts.
Last Wednesday we boarded the shinkansen bullet train in Yokohama bound for Hiroshima; as expected, Don enjoyed his first shinkansen trip–because who doesn’t like traveling at 300 KPH?
We arrived in Hiroshima and rode the street car to our hotel, then set out to visit Hiroshima Castle. The castle was originally built in the 1590s, destroyed by the atomic bombing in 1945, and rebuilt in 1958. The castle’s interior held exhibits and the chance to dress up like a samurai–or potentially catch head lice from shared head gear, thought the Been There Done That mom. (I think we’re clear.)
The next morning we boarded a boat for Miyajima Island, a historic island about 45 minutes by boat from the Peace Park. Miyajima immediately reminded me of both Venice in Italy and Mont Saint Michel in France: beautiful, surrounded by water, and visited by tourists for hundreds of years.
The most famous sites of Miyajima include The Great Otorii, the iconic red gates that lead up to a shrine. Here the shrine in question is Istukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The most famous mammals of Miyajima? Its deer. They wait outside the ferry terminal, beg at food stalls, and eat paper like maps and Japan Rail passes (which are not replaced even if a deer eats it, the guide book warns).
We headed uphill away from the main shrine area, and the crowds immediately diminished. The quiet of the forested path instantly calmed us all; I can only imagine the beauty of that lush green forest in the fall when the leaves change color. The kids and I rode the ropeway up to Mount Misen, where we saw……fog. After a few minutes the fog cleared enough to show beautiful vistas of the surrounded islands.
After ramen lunch and a little more wandering, we boarded the ferry and train to return to our hotel.