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Day 11: A Gorgeous Day on Meijima

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Awoke to the sunniest day of the trip so far and after a suitably American breakfast of granola and toast (much to Sanj's delight) at the Peace Centre we made our way west along the coast toward the Island of Meijima. Cryptically classed as 'one of the three great sights of Japan' though without any indication of what order it might appear in that list, we were looking forward to a day of beautiful shinto shrines on a pretty island and we were not to be disappointed.

The main attraction is a large shinto gate which is said to float on the water which indeed it does so long as the tide is in, otherwise it rather more adroitly just stands on the mudflats. The whole island is clearly a very popular Japanese tourist destination but on a sunny Monday in April is was mercifully quiet so Sanj and I decided to take on the might of Mount Meiji (all 580 meters!!) The path up took us through some absolutely idyllic parklands filled with cherry blossom and deer and not much else and pretty soon we were climbing hard through dense cedar woods which allowed me to enjoy the beautiful scent of the forest but sadly did nothing more for Sanj than to get her hayfever going full steam.

After having taken the decision to go to the slightly off the beaten track second summit we were rewarded with a beautiful clear view all the way back to Hiroshima Bay and could only begin to imagine what it must have looked like 60 odd years ago for those bomber pilots as they flew over and then back homeward with the mushroom cloud gathering behind them.

From this beautiful tranquil summit we made our way back down to the little tourist part of the island. Apparently some form of spatula cooking spoon was first invented here and they are very proud of the fact, to the extent that it is all that some of the souvenir shops sell. Luckily for me, this is exactly what I need for my kitchen at home so I think for the first time ever in my life I was able to go souvenir and household good shopping at the same time. We strolled the island until sunset and rewarded with some very nice shots of the gate complete with high tide and setting sun.


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