SO… we climbed another bloody mountain. Let me explain.
We were not expecting the sleepy harbour town of Miyajimaguchi when we arrived; we caught the late train so that we could spend the day in Mikage with Bernado, so it was late when we got in. There is one main street leading from the train station to the ferry terminal and at 9pm, everything was closed. We found the hostel easy enough; it was almost right on the water and conveniently next to a pizzeria so we were still able to grab a bite before we hit the deck. We had a full day planned on Miyajima Island the following day so an early night was in store anyway.
JR owns the ferry, so we could use our passes to go over for free – total bonus for us backpackers! It is an interesting place. To be honest, it was also a little strange as well. There is simultaneously a lot and nothing to do there all at once. The first thing we noticed though, is the deer. They have been fed over the years by tourists visiting the island and now they are so used to humans it’s ridiculous. We were sitting on the seat, determining our route around the sights when one snuck up behind us. We welcomed it in, giving it a pat when wham bam, it stole the map and ate it. I was a little upset at the stupid deer, paper’s not going to be good for her but it was ultimately my fault, there are signs everywhere warning you. The next thing we did was to take a walk through the shopping strip (strange, I know, the island is probably half the size of Fraser Island, yet it has a shopping strip!) Almost every shop made and sold these awesome little leaf-shaped cake desserts – they looked delicious so we indulged and it they were certainly as delish as they looked!. The third thing, perhaps the most famous, is the Torii gate. We paid way to much money to enter the temple, which contained absolutely nothing other than a pier from which viewing the Torii is perfect. What Miyajama does have though, which is quiet cool, is Senjokaku. Senjokaku, which means ‘pavilion of 1000 mats’ was commissioned so to say in 1587 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi but was never finished as building ceased with his death in 1598. We were able to wander through this building, which is without walls or ceiling, free to ponder on the beauty of a building 423 years old. This was a highlight for me, the building has this rustic, farmhouse feel that makes you want to live there, without walls and all. We also went up the cable car to the top of the mountain (Ok, so we didn’t climb up it but we climbed down – think 10,000 stairs kind of climb down). The view from the top was incredible. But then we had to climb and it was a hell of a climb. A hell of a climb. It was a climb that Jane Fonda would have been proud of. Plus, Shona & I had not eaten lunch so we were both a little delirious from hunger and there were a few almost disasters as feet slipped left & right. But we made it, back in time to get a few hours shut eye before the peace park the following day (yes, this all occurred before part A.)
Now one of the things I have been looking forward to about Hiroshima was the okonomiyaki. The thing is, the okonomiyaki, is not the okonomiyaki of Australia, oh no; no, it’s only batter on the bottom, with cabbage & assorted veg (and, get this – noodles!) in between finished with a layer of egg on top. It’s so unique to Hiroshima this okonomiyaki that it is nick named, Hiroshima-yaki. It’s delicious in its own right, but it’s left me wanting for the okonomiyaki I know and love damned it! We went in search of more today in Kyoto hopeful that it may be closer to ours, noting that it looks to be made a bit differently here. It was good, similar to the Hiroshima-yaki but without the noodles or the cabbage. I’ll continue my search but I’m not sure how well I’ll fare.
While we’re on the subject of food, today we found a coupon map for Gion, the area of Kyoto we’re in at the moment (yes, it is the Geisha district & yes, we saw some tonight!) which advertised a nice little place doing Yakitori, something on my bucket list of food for Japan. To top it off, not only did we get 5% off & 380yen pints of Asahi, the chicken is also free-range! How’s the luck! We headed over there with a lovely South-African/English lady we met at the hostel over breakfast this morning and had a smashing dinner, the chicken was beautiful, the vegetables were sensational, the only thing not fantastic was the price (it was actually really reasonably priced but I threw caution to the wind & ordered 2 rounds of everything it was so good!). Unfortunately I don’t have any pics to share – in the overwhelmingness of the food I keep forgetting to grab pictures before I gobble it all down. I’ll try to get better I promise!