Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Japan Day 4

Today was a total adventure day.  I think Ann Marie probably enjoyed this day the most.  First off, we had perfect weather.  It was sunny and not too cold. We travelled to Miyajima Island.  On the boat ride over to the island we were welcomed by a gigantic Torii gate that appeared to be floating on the water.  It was an incredible sight.  It is widely considered to be one of the 3 best sights in all of Japan.
The island itself was a lot of fun.  There were free roaming deer that were very friendly, just chilling out with all the people.  The streets were lined with gift shops and food stands.  I sampled a lot of great stuff.  The local favorite was a small maple leaf made of pancake batter filled with various creams.  You could get chocoloate, red bean, grean tea, custard, blueberry, strawberry, etc...  I call it the Japanese twinkie!  They also had these steamed beef buns that were out of this world.  We visited a shrine, a temple, and a pagoda.  All amazing sights.
Next we we headed to the island's largest feature, Mount Misen.  Along the base of the mountain, there were these small manicured paths and streams.  We could have spent all day just exploring that.  Scro headed off to Hiroshima while Ann Marie and I decided to take rope cars to the mountain top.  The ride was great because you got a birds-eye view of the mountain and you see for miles in every direction.  Once we reached the top there was a crazy hike to the very top of the mountain where there was a Buddhist temple and shrine with a flame that has been burning non stop for 1,200 years!
After that we headed to Hiroshima to join Scro.  We got to see the peace memorial park.  In the park is a building that has been preserved since the atomic bombing in 1945.  It's hard to describe, so I suggest you do a google image search if you want to have a better idea of what it looks like.
Hiroshima was jumping at night.  Everything was open and the town was out in full force.  Unfortunately, we had a train to catch so we didn't get to spend too much time there.  I did get to try the local food though.  In the train station was a place that served Okonomiyaki which is considered to be Japanese pizza, and you can only get it in Hiroshima.  Although it tastes nothing like pizza, it was delicious.  It has a thin batter crust with noodles, bacon, cabbage, bean sprouts, egg, green onions and BBQ sauce.  You can also add shrimp and other ingredients.
We also hit our first snag on the trip.  Our train had a problem and was stopped in the middle of the track for 3 hours.  Even though it was the end of the day, it did kill any night activities we had planned and is going to throw off our schedule for tomorrow. Hopefully, that will be the last glitch.
Tomorrow, we go to Tokyo!

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