Miyajima / Day 1

After traveling on two Shinkansen, a local train, and a ferry, I arrived in one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited - Miyajima. Located about half an hour away from Hiroshima, Miyajima is a small island yet apparently receives more visitors than Tokyo Disneyland annually. As soon as I stepped off the ferry, I could see why. The island is very old-world Japan, with a stunning red Torii gate located just offshore - I must have taken 50 photos of it alone as I was traveling towards it on the ferry. 

As it was around 4:30pm when we arrived on the island, the sun was at the most perfect spot in the sky, bathing everything in a beautiful golden light. I went a little photo crazy, but everything was so stunning it was hard not to attempt to capture the moment. 

Miyajima is known for its deer population, and this guy came up to me and ate the paper tag from the plane right off my luggage. 

I was staying in a ryokan (kind of of likee a Japanese-style B&B) call Mizuhaso, which was about a flat, 20 minute walk from the ferry terminal. The walk there was absolutely stunning, and although I was tired and sweaty after the long journey from Tokyo I suddenly felt my energy come back. The ryokan was ideally situated in a quieter part of town, but still walking distance from all the main attractions. We were greeted warmly when we arrived, and after ridding ourselves of our suitcases we went for a leisurely walk by the ocean before dinner. The sun setting on the island was simply breathtaking, I doubt I'll ever forget that view for as long as I live. 

Sitting on a stone bench overlooking the water, we slowly watched the sun set, and as the sky grew darker lights flickered on from across the water. The ferries going to and from the island were also lit up, and the scene looked so reminiscent of Spirited Away it took my breath away. 

Dinner was, in a word, exquisite. Most restaurants on Miyajima close after the tourist hoards go home in the afternoon, so I elected to have my dinner provided by the ryokan, a service most offer. It ended up being roughly seven courses of the most beautifully prepared Japanese food I've ever seen. Everything - from the sashimi, to the dessert - was intricately presented, and tasted absolutely divine. Even better was the fact that almost everything was locally sourced, and all seafood being caught earlier that day. 

I was nicely full afterwards, so I took a soak in the private onsen to rid myself of the day's activities. It was hard to believe I'd been in chaotic Tokyo only that morning, as Miyajima seemed like a world away from it.