Oh, deer!

The day after I visited the Peace Park, I took a train and a ferry to the island of Miyajima, which is famous for its “Floating Torii.” The large torii gate of a temple on Miyajima is set in the sand, so at high tide, it stands in the water. (At low tide, it stands on a bar of sand is distinctly less impressive. Be sure to check the tides if you want to go.)

 

I did not check the tides, and arrived earlier in mid-morning with hours to go until the mid-afternoon’s higher tides. After being greeted by some very curious and very not human-shy deer right at the port, I walked towards the sandbar Torii and realized my mistake. Some quick googling helped me find a handful of hiking trails around the island that lead up to its peak, and thinking that I had plenty of time to kill, I picked the longest trail which started in Omoto Park.

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The not-so-impressive Sandbar Torii. 

Omoto Park was the furthest park from the floating torii, out past the temple, a few other shrines, and the aquarium (I wasn’t sure how much small island’s aquarium had to offer, and I did not check it out…)

Thus I commenced the sweatiest hike I’ve probably ever been on. The weather in Miyajima was a balmy 80-90 with a loooooot of humidity, and I didn’t realize how little water I had on me (under half a liter) until I was too far up the hike of uneven stone stairs to stop. I sweated through everything I had on me in at least 20 minutes, and that was probably only .5km of the 3km to the top. About a third of the way up, I ran into a couple of Americans (also sweating profusely) and we shared a moment of mutual ugh.

“How much longer?” I asked. They looked at each other. “You have… a long way to go.”

Well, I thought, feeling like I’d just come out of one of the hot yoga session I go to with my aunts and uncles. I can’t possibly get any sweatier. (Turns out, I was wrong.)

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The view from the top. Worth it? … let’s not talk about it. 

I eventually made it, probably dehydrated and a little less than impressed by the peak’s foggy views. They also don’t sell water at the top, so I had to walk a bit more to get to the ropeway (which, why didn’t I take the ropeway up?) where I promptly bought and chugged a sports drink. I bought another bottle of water and drank that too.

On the hike back down, I saw an older woman with a Newport, RI bag! She and her friend were both Spanish, and though she had never been to Newport a family friend of hers had just got back from there (where they had gone to the folk festival.) Chatting with the women made the hike down feel quite a bit shorter, and I dried up a bit sweat-wise; by the time we got down there, the sandbar Torii was floating again and made the whole thing worth it.

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Behold! The Floating Torii, floating. 
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And the temple, also not safe from the water. 

I sat and appreciated the view and the salt water for a while, before going off to find lunch (Miyajima okonomiyaki, which is made with fried noodles and other deliciousness) and Miyajima’s strangely famous giant wooden spoon. Don’t ask, because I don’t understand it either…

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The world’s largest wooden rice scoop, for when you get really, really hungry. 

And finally…

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My sweaty, ambitious attempt at a selfie with a deer and the torii. I believe no selfie is complete without a group of bemused fellow tourists in the background.

 

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