Up and Down Miyajima: Climbing Mt. Misen

I spent some time recently perched, cross-legged on one of mount Misen’s ancient rocks, listening to the wind and the thud of weary hikers stomping by on the warm stones. I gazed out to sea and wondered what lies in the ocean and beyond that intangible horizon.

I am in constant awe of the formidable mass that is our earth, which over time has developed into a deep, surging wanderlust. This is what led me to where I was a week ago. The vast blue expanse stretched out in front of the scattered islands, small villages and the great city of Hiroshima. The mountain on which I sat is situated on a small island off of the coast of Hiroshima on the central island of Honshu. The island is called Miyajima and is home to one of the highest points in Hiroshima prefecture, Mount Misen.

One of Miyajima’s top views under scaffolding until October

© Miyajima Tourism AssociationThe Kangen-sai Festival to be held this weekend on Miyajima will be one of the last opportunities to get an unsullied shot of yourself flashing the peace sign from Itsukushima’s hira-butai – the long wooden platform that extends from the main shrine building out over the water towards the O-torii floating shrine gate – as it undergoes restoration work.

Raku Beer

One of the best places to sample some of Japan’s finest craft beer in Hiroshima is Raku, located right downtown, just a few minutes walk from the PARCO department store.

Over the past decade and a half, microbreweries have been popping up all over Japan. Japanese craft beer is starting to make a name for itself at home and abroad. Small batch brewers across the country produce fantastic brews that showcase local ingredients, and also pay homage to traditional brewing methods.

Can Hiroden bring the star crossed lovers together on this rainy Tanabata night?

tanabata tramsWith precipitation of almost biblical proportions ahead of super typhoon Neoguri (aka Number 8), it is likely that star crossed lovers Orihime and Hikoboshi torn apart by a jealous father-in-law’s penchant for fine cloth, will have to take a raincheck on their annual rendevous until Tanabata comes around again on July 7, 2015. It is said that the magpies usually form a bridge across the Milky Way out of their outstretched wings don’t like getting wet.

All may not be lost however, as Hiroden tram schedules may conspire to help them out.

Miyajima Aquarium

The recently revamped Miyajima Aquarium (Suizo-kan) is a family-friendly activity for anyone visiting Miyajima island.

Originally built in the 1980′s, it has been rebuilt on the same location, but has been completely remodeled.  The new version of Hiroshima’s only aquarium re-opened its doors in the summer of 2011.

The aquarium isn’t as big as the most famous in Japan, but it has an impressive 13,000 creatures of 350 distinct varieties which are found in Hiroshima’s surrounding Seto-inland sea. There are also some popular creatures imported from abroad including penguins, sea lions and otters which are also on display.

Hiroshima Loves Fresh Food

Coco Convenience StoreAs a growing boy living in Hiroshima, there’s one thing that gets me excited above all else: food. Since coming to Japan in January one of the first things I wanted to get sorted was where to find some cheap, affordable, and tasty food.
In the past few months, while still on the hunt for some solid grub, I noticed one thing that I found pretty peculiar; Hiroshima seemed to have substantially more fresh food than almost any other place I have ever traveled to… I decided to inquire further.

Hondori Side-Street-Shopping

Anyone who visits or lives in Hiroshima quickly becomes familiar with Hondori the massive, covered shopping street in the center of Hiroshima city with an abundance of shops and cafes. What fewer people see are the areas around Hondori. If you decide to get off the beaten path and go onto one of the small side streets you’ll be transported to a different world of smaller shops and cafes, shops with history and shop people who welcome you.

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