Monday, June 9

Miyajima - The Island Where People & Gods Live Together

I had two maps, and I still could not find the bus station. I had lots of time (two hours...what can I say; better early than late!) but I was still anxious to find the station so I didn't have to worry about it. Fortunately, I have not yet found a person in Japan who isn't willing to help. So - with the help of two kind gentlemen, one a taxi-stand manager who left his stand to take me into the depths of the multi-station building, I found myself in the empty bus station. I wandered the area a bit - taking in the beautiful city views.

It was getting late - my bus didn't leave until 11:50pm - and I was a little tired, so I sat in the terminal and listened to music while I waited for the bus to arrive. It struck me as an upscale bus station; it was clean and quiet. I was surprisingly content to sit in the dark, stillness, and was rather relaxing.

I fell asleep almost right away, and slept through until we reached Hiroshima station at 6:10am. Keith's bus didn't arrive for a couple hours, so once I found my way around the station, I sat beside the river, read, and ate the breakfast I brought. I inevitably got to thinking.

"I am in Hiroshima, Japan. I am living and working in Osaka, Japan. I am travelling Japan, on my own money, time, and by my own planning and coordination. Wow."

It was a strange feeling to have no where to go, and nothing to do - but wait. Relaxing, freeing, but strange. Keith's bus didn't end up arriving until 9:30am. We had some breakfast / brunch at a bakery, and jumped on the train for Miyajima-guchi Station.

We only had to wait a few minutes for the ferry to take us across to Miyajima. It was closer than I'd though - we could see the island and even the famous Otorii.

Miyajima is one of the Three Views of Japan, and is famous for the Otorii - a large wooden gate to a shrine or in some cases, a temple.

The island was once considered holy, and commoners could not set foot on the island. But they could still visit Itsukushima Shrine - after passing through the purifying torii by boat, they could visit the shrine as it was built on stilts over the water.

I made friends with one of the temple guards - just for protection's sake...

We visited the small aquarium, and got to feed penguins! The dead fish we fed them were kind of gross, but it was still fun, and the penguins were cute.

I could not possible convey all the adventures and moments and feelings and fun that the weekend provided, but I'll do my best to share it with the pictures and as much as I can describe. You'll have to be patient, though...there's a lot to tell! More tomorrow...


canadasue said...

"I am in Hiroshima, Japan. I am living and working in Osaka, Japan. I am travelling Japan, on my own money, time, and by my own planning and coordination. Wow."

Wow-a-wow-wow! Being a "grown-up" is great... so many responsibilities yet so many delicious rights and fabulous freedoms!

What a delight to be a North American woman in our times!

Stephanie said...

You're right - I don't think any other place in the world is more empowering to women (and people in general)! Amidst all the negative media and advertisements, I think we also have a barrage of messages telling us we can achieve anything and go anywhere. Especially for the 20-somethings!