As the scents of the late autumn winds mix with the breeze from the ocean, I stare out into the distance, while white puffy clouds along with numerous small islands and crystal blue water create the view before me. This recalls to mind the numerous paintings I have seen in my East Asian art history class.
A few weeks ago I went on the CIEE weekend trip to Hiroshima. During our stay in Hiroshima we visited the Peace Museum and Miyajima. The Peace Museum was very humbling, and while difficult at some points to walk through, it is worth experiencing completely. We also had two lectures, one by a professor who talked to us about the dropping of the atomic bombs, and one by an atom bomb survivor. Both were informative, and the talk by the atom bomb survivor was very moving.
On the second day we traveled to Miyajima, which is an island famous for its red shrine gate in the water and the numerous semi-tame deer everywhere. To get to the island we took a ferry, which was fun and around a 20-30 minute ride. After arriving at port we disembarked, and began walking towards the shrine. On the way to the shrine we passed by lots of different gift shops which all sell various Hiroshima or Miyajima goods, and also lots of interesting food stands and small restaurants. The shrine is very scenic and there was also a traditional Japanese wedding occurring when we were walking through it, so we were very lucky to see the bride and groom. There was also a traditional performance taking place with a group of priests playing traditional Japanese instruments. The mood and setting made it feel as if we were a hundred or more years in the past.
After the shrine we took the cable cars which lead to Mt. Misen at the top of Miyajima island. The rides up are quick and fun, and offer a stunning view of the island and a chance to rest your feet after hiking up to them. Even though it was late fall already, there were still plenty of fall colors to be seen on the trees that had already turned but not lost their leaves. At the top of the island the view was stunning. You could look out for miles and see the many different islands that scatter the area, and even look back and see Hiroshima in the distance. The fresh scents of the different trees and the ocean air washed over us in an interesting and refreshing breeze. One could easily spend many hours taking pictures from atop the island just sitting and enjoying the view, which is exactly what I did.
Afterwards, I returned down the mountain on the cable cars to visit the various shops that are near the shore. There are dozens of small shops with all kinds of food, and everything is absolutely delicious. My favorites were the oysters, for which Miyajima is famous. They tasted amazing, and were the best I’ve ever had. Then there are countless souvenir shops which had some very remarkable trinkets and items for sale that you don’t see on a regular basis. Unfortunately my time was a bit limited as this point, so I didn’t spend too long looking around, but I did see a lot, and it was fun looking at everything. All in all, it was a memorable trip and a very valuable experience.