Day 7 / 12 February 2016 (Friday) : Miyajima
Today is the last full day of our trip, we will be visiting Osaka Castle and will make a “day trip” to the island of Miyajima.
Our friend from Dubai will be flying to Manila today to continue his holidays. We all went together to Namba station and from there we bade him goodbye.
From Namba Station, we took the subway and local train and alighted at Osakajokoen Station. And from outside the station we started to see Osaka Castle from a distance.
Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) was built by the hegemon Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who ruled Japan in the latter half of the 16th century, on the site of a temple called Ishiyama Hongan-ji.
One of the charms of this castle is the beauty of its stone wall. Reportedly, there are 40,000 rocks in the wall. Legend has it that powerful daimyo from all parts of Japan competed in carrying the large rocks to display their loyalty to the Toyotomi hegemon.
The existing castle tower was built in 1931. It has five tiers and is approximately 40 m high. It is the symbol of Osaka.
Access: Through Otemon Gate at the park’s southwestern corner. The closest station is Tanimachi 4-chrome Station (Tanimachi Subway Line and Chuo Subway Line). Or a 10 minute walk from Osakajokoen Station (JR Osaka Loop Line).
Admission: 9:00 to 17:00 (entrance until 16:30). Closed (December 28 to January 1)
Fees: 600 yen
For our main itinerary for the day, a visit to Island of Miyajima
10:59- 12:26 Shin-Osaka Station to Hiroshima Station (Shinkansen Sakura 553)
12:33 – 13:01 Hiroshima Station to Miyamaguchi Station (JR Sanyo Line for Iwakuni)
13:25 – 13:35 Miyamaguchi Station to Miyajima (JR Miyajima Ferry for Miyajima)
*Travel Tip – The whole journey is free if you have a JR-Pass
A 5-minute walk from Miyamaguchi station is the ferry terminal
The afternoon is a bit cloudy, the queue for riding the ferry is smooth.
It is not as crowded as we have expected so we are able to board the ferry without running just to save a seat ;p
It is very comfortable inside the ferry for a 10 minute journey.
My Kuala Lumpur friend, who won the selfie king award during this trip.
You can stay inside or outside during the short journey
We left the main island on time
A few minutes later, we started to see the famous floating gate from a distance.
And in no time, we arrived at the island.
Miyajima Island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan, has long been regarded as an Island of Gods on the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. It is a romantic and historical island where Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, is located, along with the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen, and numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments.
A torii gate that leads o the Itsukushima Floating Shrine.
It’s very popular torri gate is unique for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide.
The great Torii is the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds. The first Otorii of Itsukushima Shrine was constructed in 1168 and was built about 200 meters offshore.
The Itsukushima Shrine of the Floating Shrine has more than 1400 years of history, and is a registered World Heritage Site. The vermillion lacquered shrine, located at the beautiful Itsukushima, fits well with the Prussian blue sea, and the green of the virgin forest, recreating the elegance of the Heian era. Many visitors from all around the world continue to visit.
The entrance leading to Itsukushima Shrine
The vermilion color of the shrine and of the O-torii is considered to keep evil spirits away. As for Itsukushima Shrine, the shrine buildings are coated with vermilion lacquer, which is also efficient as protection from corrosion.
During high tide, the great Torii looks like it is floating on the sea. It is especially beautiful to view the great Torii from Hitasaki. During low tide, you can walk to the foot of the great Torii.
Toyokuni Shrine, Both are located in front of the entrance to Itsukushima Shrine. They were built 500 years ago. The Shrine is dedicated to the warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (one of the three unifiers of Japan in the 16th century) and his loyal aid Kato Kiyomasa.
The Five-Storied Pagoda (Gojunoto) was originally constructed in 1407, and it was restored in 1533. The main deity enshrined here is the Buddha of Medicine, accompanied by the Buddhist saints Fugen and Monju.
The view of the island from outside Toyokuni Shrine.
The view of Itsukushima Shrine from behind.
We hurriedly went back to the ferry terminal so we can travel back to Osaka. If you want to visit this island, we highly suggest that you come as early in the morning so you can enjoy the island more freely.
Our ferry leaving the island of Miyajima.
We have the whole area on the first floor of the ferry for us on the way back to the main island.
Back at the Miyamaguchi Station, we witness the train workers doing maintenance works on the rails.
We arrived at Hiroshima station, we decided to have our super late lunch.
Arriving back at Osaka, since this is our last night, we decided to “get lost” in the city hehe.
The popular ferris wheel at the top of HEP Five building
While walking around trying to get lost, we decided to try this italian restaurant for our late dinner.
Celebrating the last night of our trip with wine. Kampai!!!
Day 8 / 13 February 2016 (Saturday) : Leaving Osaka
We finally come to the end of our trip, we are all flying back to our respective home countries. Though I must admit that I have prepared a super busy itinerary but I never heard any complain from them, I hoped they enjoyed every minute of their first trip to the land of the rising sun 😉
Our last group-pic together while waiting for our train to Kansai Airport.
We took the star wars themed train Nankai Airport Express from Sakai Station along Nankai Line.
At Kansai Airport, did an additonal last minute “Omiyage” shopping.
*Travel Tip – Tokyo Banana is also available inside Kansai Airport, and it is cheaper by a few more yens as compared to the price from outside.
Our Vietnam Airlines left Kansai Airport by 10;30 am for a 5h 45m travel to Ho Chi Minh City
Arriving at Ho Chi Minh for a hour stop over.
After another 2 hour flight from Ho Chi Minh, finally back at home in Singapore. Starting to feel the cold weather of Osaka ;-p