2018 Incredible Japan – Day 8 Part 2

HIROSHIMA to MIYAJIMA – Torii sunset

Saturday pm – after our wonderful lunch – I do love this food – it is time to set out for the Great Floating Torii Gate at Miyajima.  We walk to the station and once we get on the platform I am bewitched by 2 men who are having a golf practice session on top of one of the buildings,

The Japanese do love their golf and apparently they will do anything to get in a session or two, even making their own practice area – with netting to protect everyone and everything. One man arrives – he looks like a worker; and then another arrives who looks like the boss.  What a hoot!

As it is only a small space there is only room for one man at a time – first the worker and then the boss who shows him what he is doing wrong – then back to the worker – then the boss – it continues like this for about 30 minutes.

I am intrigued and could keep watching this for ages but alas, our train has arrived and we are soon hurtling through the countryside to Miyajima.  It is not a long ride, and at one of the stops a lady gets on with a travel case.  I hear you say so what’s new?  On top of the case she has a large bag and soon a dog pops his head out for a look around.  I just love Japan.

We arrive at our station and now we have a short walk to catch the ferry over the other side of the lake.

There are lots of people doing this trip.  I thought that maybe late afternoon there would not be so many, but obviously everyone has the same idea – catch the sunset for some great photos.

The water of Onoseto Strait is calm so it is very enjoyable – until such time when all the idiots push their way through and come and stand right in front of me.  Obviously my choice of having a nice seat with a great view was not a good one, so I become one of those ‘stand in front of everyone’ people.  The things that you do to get a good photo!

It is not cold – cool – but not cold. The sun is peeking through some cloud in typical Rising Sun fashion except that it is Sinking Sun.  How pretty is this eh?  It is not long before we catch a glimpse of our destination – the magnificent Miyajima Great Floating Torii Gate.

It certainly is a magical structure isn’t it?  The closer we get, the more magnificent it looks. I can’t wait to get off the boat and walk around to have a closer look.

I am no sooner off the boat and starting the walk around to the gate when I am surrounded by deer – how friendly and cute they are.

Obviously the tourists over time have tamed them by feeding them special treats.  Unfortunately a rather soft brown snout trying to get into in my bag, even though it is cute, does not impress me. The walk continues.

The sun is starting to set so after selecting a good spot out comes the camera gear and the clicking starts.

This must be another ‘Family photo’ place where people get dressed in their national dress and have their photo taken.

The family is all set up – the photographer is ready to go and who plods right between the family and the photographer and into the shot but our friendly photo bomber.

Honestly, I am gob smacked at his utter disregard for anyone but himself.  I pretend that I do not know him and move further away.

Now for a little bit of – the things you see and my indulgence at being strange.

The young girls and everyone else comes up with their mobile phones (of course) and take photos – not surprising I hear you say – BUT – this young lass has her little travelling companions in the photo as well.  Looks like three little cat ornaments.  How cute is that – I just love watching people – sometimes I watch so much that I practically forget why I am here in the first place.

I very rarely take these type of photos – but I couldn’t resist and anyway I am not as strange taking photos as some that are here.

Time for a history lesson just in case you didn’t click the link above : the giant Torii Gate at Itsukushima Shrine is a wooden Ryobu style (four legged style) torii. It stands at 16.6m, with a top crosspiece length of 24.2m, main pillars 9.9m around, and a gross weight of 60t. The wood has had a vermillion lacquer (Komyotan lacquer) applied, the main pillars are made from camphor, and the smaller supporting pillars are made from cedar. The current Torii is the 8th generation since the Heian Period and was rebuilt in 1875. The top crosspiece and tie beams were turned into boxes and filled with 5t of rocks and sand. The base is just placed on the seafloor, and the gate stands of its own weight. The foundation of the main pillars use breakwaters called senbonkui, where 30 – 100 pine piles (45cm – 60cm long) are driven in around each pillar. Camphor trees have a high specific gravity and are resistant to rotting and insects. On the west side of the top crosspiece is a crescent moon mark, and on the east side a sun mark, showing the influence of yin-yang. “Itsukushima Shrine” is written on the framed plaque on the offing side and “Itsukishima Shrine” written on the temple side. The plaque today was written up by Prince Arisugawa Taruhito when the torii was rebuilt in 1875.  OK – that’s enough.

Depending on what camera settings I choose – do I highlight the sunset colours?  Do I go for a natural setting?  Do I darken the gate and create a silhouette? Do I zoom in?  I’ll just put a selection here and leave it up to you.  The arrival of a Crane perching on the Gate is a sign for good luck.  How wonderful!

How are you going so far?

As it gets darker, the lights on the gate come on, but these together with the orange colour of the wood is just too much.

When we have taken our fill of photos and before we get back on the ferry,  it is time to get some dinner at one of the local eateries. Apologies I do not remember the name but I had the Creamy Mushrooms and it was delicious.  Unfortunately I had eaten most of them before I thought about taking a photo.   I do not eat many mushroom dinners back in Oz but these Japanese mushrooms are scrumptious.

Today is my son’s birthday – it’s the first one I have not been there in all these years so we all raise a glass to him – mmmmm – that’s good too!!!!

Another smooth ferry journey back across the strait, trains back to our hotel in Okayama and the walk from the station to the hotel is highlighted by lovely lights –

We cover so much in our days – and yes there is a lot of walking.  My poor little foots are so tired and I practically fall into bed every night – but in saying that I am excited every morning and tomorrow will be no different.

We have an early start tomorrow as we head for Himeji Castle and our Temple stay with the Buddhist Monks in Koyasan.

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