More rain, more deer, more okonomyaki

Floating Torii (for now anyway)

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any wetter, I woke up this morning in Hiroshima. Yesterday was pretty damp, but today the rain was relentless. Oh well, what are you going to do? Get out there of course!

That's some low hanging cloud

Today was my last day in this fleeting visit to Hiroshima, so it was off to visit Miyajima Island and it’s famed floating torii gate. A quick train ride to Miyajimaguchi station and an even quicker ferry ride, and I was on the island. With umbrella and rain jacket armed, off I went.

First thing I guess is that the Torii isn’t floating as such. The tide helps play the illusion. Unfortunately for me high tide (and the true appearance of floating) was at 8 in the morning, which didn’t happen. So as I arrived the water was heading out, and the bottom was becoming clearly visible. But if that didn’t allow the perfect photo, it let me walk underneath it later when low tide was happening.

Sorry, not today Mt Misen

So I head out exploring the island before low tide arrived. My plan was originally to climb Mt  Misen, the tallest point on the island, and a good 1.5 hr hike. Alas, the persistent heavy rain meant that wasn’t going to happen. The low hanging clouds meant that it wasn’t going to be the greatest of views regardless (as a fellow hosteller confirmed to me later). So off I just wandered.

More temples in treetops

The island is made up of a number of small temples and shrines, that like Kyoto just pop up. But this time they are all buried in the woods of the island. Oh, and there is more deer. Just like Nara they just hang out and terrorise the visitors. Watching a poor lady have her scarf eaten was kinda funny I have to say (I wasn’t the only one watching and laughing).

It got to the point where I had to escape from the rain. And what better thing to do than… more Okonomyaki! I had to enjoy another Hiroshima special variant. The experience was not as special as last night, but it was tasty nonetheless. Oh, Templar… this is how they make it:

1. Make a REALLY thin circle of batter. I mean like thin crepe thin.

2. Put a ton of cabbage on top. Last night had bean shoots too which today didn’t. Put some bacon on it (yep, bacon)

3. Flip it over so the cabbage and bacon is on the grill. Squash, cook, squash, cook.

4. Pop some noodles (udon or soba) on the grill in a circle and let cook. Pop the batter and cabbage pancake on top. Squash.

5. Crack an egg and make it the same circle size as the pancake. Pop the batter, cabbage and noodle pancake on the egg (noodles against the egg). Squash some more

6. Flip over, paste with the magic sauce, and serve up! Yum.

After filling up on that goodness, the tide was a fair way out, so it was time to get wet some more and walk under the gate.

And you thought it was floating...

It is funny to think that 95% of photos of the torii are the magical floating photos, but that you requires perfect timing. If I want that I can buy a postcard… I got to walk underneath!

Having done that it was time to head back. Even though it was raining I did the long walk back from the train station to the hostel, weaving my way through a number of shopping arcades. Nothing too odd has jumped out at me yet, although one toy store I found made me want to buy half the stuff.

So farewell Hiroshima, I loved my visit even though you didn’t stop raining. You provided me with some spine-tingling moments as well as awesome okonmyaki and tasty kit kats. I will see if I can crack how to fold these paper cranes tonight and drop some off for me and Meagan and Ella and Jake before I head off tomorrow on an epic 5 1/2 hours of Train travel to Takayama. Speak to you next from the ancient town of sake 🙂


  1. GlenAyako
    June 26, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    It seems its always rains in Miyajima. It also rained when we were in Miyajima and Hiroshima areas for a few days.

  2. Meags
    June 27, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Another great day Matt! Great photos that you have taken, can’t wait to see all of them when you get back. Sounds like you are having your fair share of Japanese treats to eat, including Kit Kats…..good work!! I hope the paper crane folding went well and you get a chance to put them out, thanks for doing some for us too. Talk soon, Meags xx

  3. Bolden
    June 27, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    Sounds great Dr Matt. The Torii looks unreal! I hope you got a postcard 😉

  4. batmanisnotgay
    June 28, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    No photos of stuff in the toyshop?
    And sounds like we need to do an Okonomyaki cookup on your return.


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