1st April 2005

yesterdays pictures 2005:03:31
todays pictures 2005:04:01

‘Laboratory’
The above was the original sign on the toilet door of my hotel on Miyajima.
They had plastered over with the correct word.
I am writing this as I wait for the ferry to Matsuyama.
I am, yet again, two hours early.
Yesterday was a cool but exhausting day.
Firstly I got a shock when trying to check out of Hakata because my Visa card would not work. So I had used my Amex. In Hiroshima I tried phoning the helpline to see if it had been blocked.
Unfortunately the helpline requires tone phones and Hiroshima still uses pulse.
I will definitely make a complaint about that when I get back.
How are people meant to use the international helpline if you can’t use pulse phones?
I walked to the station and got a train to Miyajimaguchi and then the ferry to Miyajima.
As they are both run by JR my railpass covered it. 😉
On arriving I had to go behind the main shrine to get to my Ryokan.
I got a good view of the shrine and the many tame deer that roam the island.
My ryokan was at the top of some steep steps and I had worked up quite a sweat by the time I checked in.
I left my main bag and returned to the Itsukushima Shrine.
A traditional wedding was taking place much to the delight of the tourists.
I noted that the official photographer was fussing about as they do at any western wedding. Especially around the bride.
I then returned up to the ryokan to buy the sunblock I had bought in Hakata.
Then it was time to hike up みせんさん [Mt.Misen], the Islands mountain.
I, as chance would, chose the steepest route, but first I stopped off at the Tahoto Pagoda and the Daishoin temple.
I found the temple exquisite and I followed all the appropiate customs donating to the temple and ringing chimes.
I got stamps from the six temples contiained within that form the image of a Buddha.
They are for children, but all the tourists were using them as souvenirs.
The route up I chose was the ‘Daishoin Course’ I finished almost both of the bottles of water that I had bought for the climb [BTW. Soft drinks cost around Â¥ 40 more than the mainland.]
I finally got to the top exhausted and sweaty and bought another bottle of water at the exhorbidant price of ¥250! and a Pocari Sweat.
The I chose the less steap, but more windy, Otomo Course for the way down.
I have to admit that I can now see where Studio Ghibli’s Miyazaki gets his ideas.
The views were magnificent and around every corner was a hidden shrine or statue of a Buddha.
In Otomo park is a sign warning about monkeys. I did not see any which is a shame.
I went to a restaurant ferry terminal and had okonomiyaki again. But it was not as good as in the Okonomiyaki-mura in Hiroshima.
I then retired to my room at 21:00 after taking some dusk and night shots of the shrine.
After a long hot bath to ease my complaining muscles, I went to a well-earned bed.

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