I woke up on the floor this morning, geez it's been a while since that happened. Africa I think. I had a lovely sleep in our traditional Ryokan. We had a great breakfast this morning provided by the hotel; salad, boiled egg, toast and jam with tea and orange juice.
We headed out into the cold and headed straight for the O-torii gate, the famous orange arch which is the main attraction here. It was spectacular, rising out of the sea with its orange hues reflecting on the water. Next to the gate was the Itsukushima Shrine, where monks were going through their morning rituals. We had a walk around the very colourful shrine and then headed up towards the cable car, which they call a ropeway. It was a lovely ride up and when we got to the top, Darren and I ended up walking all the way to the top of Mount Misen, which is the highest point on the island. It was a fairly steep and arduous climb of about 1km, but the amazing view from the top was worth it. From the top you can see the entire inland sea and other islands floating in the mist.
There was a temple at the top and of course deer walking around, one of which tried to eat my jacket. (Deer are everywhere here) The climb down was quicker, but very steep and hurt our feet and our toes were pushed right into the toe parts of our shoes. We got the cable car back down and went and had a coffee in a shop that way beyond cosy and in which I had the best mocha of my life, with biscotti and a strawberry and white chocolate muffin. Amazing.
We bumped into Amado again upon leaving the shop, who then went off to climb the mountain without using the cable car. Nutcase.
Darren and I wandered around the shops and then had some lunch in a really nice restaurant, Darren and tempura udon and I had Kaarage chicken. The ladies in the restaurant all wore pink kimonos and a little old lady sat next to us eating fried oysters, which seem to be the thing to eat around here.
After paying a whopping 2900 yen (still basically nothing) for our lunch, we had a look in some more shops and I bought a couple of really pretty fans and some lovely drawings of Hiroshima. With all our purchases in tow, we went to watch the sunset over the arch, although not before walking right out to it (as the tide had now gone out) and sticking coins to it, which is the traditional thing to do.
I took hundreds of photos of the sun setting behind the arch and then oven more after I had seen Amado off at the ferry port, as he is still staying in Hiroshima. As we were watching the sunset, one of the notorious deer came up to us and started trying to eat everything in sight, our jackets, my bag, my camera strap! We were in fits of giggles. We came back to the hotel and then we to see the arch all lit up when it got dark. There are no convenience stores on this island, so Darren and I caught the ferry back to the mainland to stock up and we both felt we only needed a snack for dinner. Long way to go for a 7/11! I found these awesome bean chips which I know I'm going to miss like crazy when it's time to come home! We got the ferry back to Miyajima and then went back to the Ryokan.