Japan 2016: Day 7, Miyajima

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.

01. At Osaka StationOur 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.


02. Osaka CastleFrom 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.


03. Osaka CastleOsaka 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.


04. Osaka CastleOne 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.


05. Osaka CastleThe existing castle tower was built in 1931. It has five tiers and is approximately 40 m high. It is the symbol of Osaka.


06. Osaka CastleAccess: 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


07. Miyajima FerryA 5-minute walk from Miyamaguchi station is the ferry terminal


08. Miyajima FerryThe afternoon is a bit cloudy, the queue for riding the ferry is smooth.


09. Miyajima FerryIt is not as crowded as we have expected so we are able to board the ferry without running just to save a seat ;p


10. Miyajima FerryIt is very comfortable inside the ferry for a 10 minute journey.


11. Miyajima FerryMy Kuala Lumpur friend, who won the selfie king award during this trip.


12. Miyajima FerryYou can stay inside or outside during the short journey


13. Leaving MiyajimaWe left the main island on time


14. Leaving Miyajima


15. Torri gate from a distanceA few minutes later, we started to see the famous floating gate from a distance.


16. Torri gate from a distance


17. Torri gate from a distance


18. Arrived at the IslandAnd in no time, we arrived at the island.


19. Itsukushima IslandMiyajima 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.


20. Itsukushima Island


21. Itsukushima Island


22. Itsukushima IslandA torii gate that leads o the Itsukushima Floating Shrine.


23. Itsukushima floating gateIt’s very popular torri gate is unique for being built over water, seemingly floating in the sea during high tide.


24. Itsukushima floating gate.JPGThe 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.


25. Itsukushima floating shrine.JPGThe 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.


26. Itsukushima island.JPGThe entrance leading to Itsukushima Shrine


27. Itsukushima floating gate.JPGThe 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.


28. Itsukushima floating gate.JPGDuring 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.


29. TempleToyokuni 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.


30. 5 storey pagodaThe 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.


31. Temple and pagoda


32. Temple


33. Temple


34. View of the islandThe view of the island from outside Toyokuni Shrine.

36. Itsukushima floating shrine.JPGThe view of Itsukushima Shrine from behind.


37. Ferry terminal in the islandWe 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.


38. Leaving the islandOur ferry leaving the island of Miyajima.


39. FerryWe have the whole area on the first floor of the ferry for us on the way back to the main island.


40. Back at Miyajima train stationBack at the Miyamaguchi Station, we witness the train workers doing maintenance works on the rails.


41. late lunch at Hiroshima stationWe arrived at Hiroshima station, we decided to have our super late lunch.


42. Back at Osaka stationArriving back at Osaka, since this is our last night, we decided to “get lost” in the city hehe.


43. last night in osaka


44. last night in osakaThe popular ferris wheel at the top of HEP Five building


45. Late dinner in osakaWhile walking around trying to get lost, we decided to try this italian restaurant for our late dinner.


46. Late dinner in osakaCelebrating 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 😉


48. Leaving OsakaOur last group-pic together while waiting for our train to Kansai Airport.


49. Waiting for train


50. Star wars trainWe took the star wars themed train Nankai Airport Express from Sakai Station along Nankai Line.


51. OmiyageAt 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.


52. Kansai AirportOur Vietnam Airlines left Kansai Airport by 10;30 am for a 5h 45m travel to Ho Chi Minh City


53. Ho Chi Minh AirportArriving at Ho Chi Minh for a hour stop over.


54. Changi AirportAfter another 2 hour flight from Ho Chi Minh, finally back at home in Singapore. Starting to feel the cold weather of Osaka ;-p



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