Just south of Hiroshima is the island of Miyajima. Reached by tram then ferry, it is a beautiful wooded island rising out of the Pacific with a stiff walk to the top. One of the iconic photographic scenes of Japan, the vermilion-coloured gate to the shrine of Itsukushima-jinja, rises out of the sea as you approach the island. There are more shrines and temples on land. The island is inhabited by thousands of tame deer which harass tourists for ice-creams, Rail Passes, children and other edible items.
Reunion with Yoko
We headed back up north by bullet train to Kyoto. Here, we had a rendezvous with Yoko, the daughter of a Japanese neurologist who I had met when in Japan 2 years before. Yoko subsequently came to visit us in Dorchester. She and her boyfriend, Susumo, spotted us in the huge station concourse in Kyoto and took us to see some of the many tiny craft shops for which the city is famous.
Modern Japanese take on the old Wolseley Hornet
People waft themselves with the smoke from the inscence burner at the entrance of every shrine to bring about good health
From Kyoto, it was a short train hop on to Nara. Like Kyoto, it too had been the capital of Japan in times gone by with many beautiful shrines in a relatively small area against a backdrop of wooded hills. How lucky we were to be seeing the autumn trees in all their glory.