Japan has three “famous views” of which it is rightly proud. Today we visited Miyajima, an island south of Hiroshima, home to the Isukushima shrine and its floating torii. The torii isn’t actually floating, but when the tide comes in it stands in a couple of meters of water in a small bay and becomes the best of the three views.
After photographing it and the nearby five-storied pagoda we left the crowds behind and started the hike up the Ohmoto route to the Mt. Misen view point. We could have taken the cable-car. But I still need some exercise to warm up for walking (48 hours until I’m at the cape!) and Lorraine is just too stubborn to do it the easy way. The path started in a small park littered with cherry blossoms and populated by wild deer. Understandably we saw no-one else going up that way, but a few were heading down. It was a good chance for me to start seeing wild Japan which I haven’t seen much really. Once we cleared the first ridge and began traversing the southern slope to the pass I was struck by how much it was like parts of southern California. The sandstone rocks and gritty path with pines to match. I really could have been in the San Bernadinos were I not clearly on an island off the coast of Japan.
At the view point we hit the crowds again. School groups and tour groups came filing past our lunch spot. I got a few waves from the kids, a few hellos and good-byes. I don’t know why they thought I was a fun foreigner, there were plenty about, but I said hello back to them and got smiles in return. Looking south through the archipelago I think I spied Shikoku. Where I’ll be in 4 weeks and where Rolling Thunder is right now.
We were down at the bottom for low tide and waited long enough that we could walk right up to the base of the torii across the mudflats, still crawling as little critters scuttled towards the last puddles to wait out the dry spell. Another landmark down, another day closer to starting. I got the PCT in my head the other day. It was raining in Himeji and I didn’t like it. I began wondering about doing the PCT again instead of Japan. The weather is great there. I know the way. But that’d be the easy way out I think. For better or worse I’m here for a different sort of adventure.
Word of the day: ki-ite = stamp