Miyajima (宮島) is one of the "famous 3" views of Japan. The other 2 are in Sendai and Kyoto. Miyajima is most well known for it's floating Tori gate, which was built at low tide so that it appears to be floating in high tide. It is also known for it's abundance of maple trees. Autumn is the time to go.
I couldn't sleep last night, didn't sleep until 3am, then woke up at 5am. Fell back asleep, and between 5am and 8am, I dreamed that I went to Miyajima, but didn't see anything. It was an awful dream, and I assumed that when I finally did wake up, that maybe I had overslept and would never have the chance to go.
I thought I'd be stuck in Kure in some sort of cruel cosmic joke.
But don't worry, this is a happy story.
The Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan book says to hike to the top of Mt. Misen (弥山) on the island. Don't argue with the experts. If you are interested in this hike, make sure you go up as far from the main trail as possible. There was a total of 0 people in this hike with me. There was a total of a billion red, orange, and yellow leaves.
There's all sorts of temples involved in the equation. Since Miyajima is a major tourist destination, the temples are pristine. Go early and avoid the crowds.
This one is named Daisho-in (大聖院) and it's pretty amazing. Just past, about 1km away, is the base of the trail. You won't see anymore temples for a while.
Enjoy nature. Hug that shit.
Hike for a couple hours, try and avoid the wild monkeys.
Keep going, it's just a little further.
The views are incredible. The Seto Sea islands, Shikoku is far off in the distance, and of course Hiroshima is right there.
Thats Kure in the distance there.
There's some more temples further along. One of them has a fire that has been burning (according to legend) for over 1000 years. There is a pot of water over this smoky fire and plenty of cups. Help yourself. This was the fire used to light the Hiroshima Peace Flame. Now that's some cool shit!
It tastes like charcoal.
Take the normal path down, it's fast.
Make sure you pick up at least 1 piece of trash along the way. Just do it. Put it in your pocket or something. It's a karma thing. Then get some udon.
If you've taken your time, the tide will be opposite of whatever it was when you started. So take in another view of the tori gate.