Day two on the Island of Miyajima and we got up early to miss the crowds at the shrine and to see the Tori during high tide.
Afterwards we walked around the main street in search of coffee and a western style breakfast and could not have been more delighted to find Cafe Shima that served a fry up! We had not eaten anything like this for over 3 months and it may not have been ‘good’ by english standards, but for us it was amazing! I was so excited I forgot to take a picture! With other delicious baked good on offer we picked up some snacks for later and set off on our hike up mount Misen.
There are many different routes that you can take up mount Misen and they all have different difficulty levels. If you don’t like hiking then there is also a cable car that you can take to the top. True to form J decided that the ‘easy’ route was boring and we decided to go the medium route up and the long route down (I really don’t know why I agree to these things!). At the foot of the mountain there are some beautiful temples which should not be missed, most notably Daisho-in Temple.
The hike was quite hard in the middle of summer sun, but eventually we made it to the top and the breeze and views were wonderful. Had it been a clear day they would have been even better. We sat for a while ontop of giant rocks overlooking the sea and ate our snacks that we had carried up for lunch and somehow got chatting to a very nice Japanese man who wanted to talk to us about James Bond?!
The way back down was much longer and much harder for me, but there was a magic cave that expelled ice cold air that I sat by for as long as J would let me!
Once we were back down we went straight to our ryokan for the night. We had booked a ‘high end’ Ryokan called Iwaso, as a treat and it was the first Ryokan we had stayed in in Japan. I was really excited to sleep on the tatami floor and we were both in need of the onsen after our hike! After a long soak and some green tea in the room we got into our yukatta (summer kimono) and strolled down to the sea before our dinner. The sun was setting over Hiroshima and it was extremely peaceful!
Dinner was served in one of the Ryokan rooms (usually it would be served in your own room but for some reason they wanted to serve ours in a different room). It was course after course after course of fish, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruit etc. Mostly it was very tasty but the Japanese are big on texture and some of there textures can be quite slimy which is a little hard to enjoy! We were able to have a nice chat with our kimono clad server in Japanese and she explained what all the dishes were that we were about to enjoy. At the end of the meal you are served rice, pickles and soup to finish, which for us seems a little strange not to have this with the fish and meet.
After an exceptionally good nights sleep we got up early to use the onsen again before we left and had another western style breakfast, although not as good as the cafe the day before. They tried to serve pastries but they did not resemble pastries in any way!
Our first Ryokan experience was a good one and it certainly was relaxing to eat and relax all in the same space. However the Ryokan style food is not for the faint harted and it takes a little getting used to! It should also be noted that these ryokans are very expensive and a lot of the price is for the food so make sure you research the food well and read lots of reviews before booking. The Iwaso Ryokan is in a really beautiful location and its japanese ponds and the red bride right outside make for a lovely setting!
We said good by to our beautiful room overlooking the woodland and stream and headed of to the ferry for Hiroshima.
For more information or to book in English CLICK HERE!
Other blog on Japan…
To read more from our travels around Japan CLICK HERE!