11th Apr 2012
We are back in Scotland! The heavens have opened and the mountains are shrouded in mist. Our hotel has an amazing design. It is built like a high-rise, open-air quad with the rooms leading off, so when we went down to breakfast it was raining down the central core of the hotel. Very refreshing. We tried to wait until the rain eased a bit but in the end we had to brave it. Took the train and ferry to Miyajima. It is stunning. Even the rain and the grey sky could not detract from its beauty. The torii gate floating in the water with its back-drop of the shrine, cherry blossom and the mountains is every bit as awe-inspiring as the photographs. Within about 45mins. the rain had stopped and the sun came out (I said we'd been transported to Scotland). We dropped our luggage off at the ryokan. Picnicked overlooking the now visible Hiroshima mainland and had to fight off deer who wanted our cheese and crackers. We won!! Had a beautiful walk around the back paths to Daisho-in temple, via a small teahouse occupied by Setsuko, a retired english teacher and her pupils (all over 50). Had blue mountain coffee and chocolates for 200 yen (less than £2.00) each. Could have had sake like some of her pupils - but declined as it was only 5.00pm! They were a great crowd and Kit and Setsuko were talking shop within 10 minutes!
The Daisho-in temple was wonderful - the most spiritual place yet. Its buildings climbed up the hillside and every conceivable type of Buddha was there. The path back to the ryokan took us through cherry groves - there was blossom everywhere - on the trees, on the ground and on us. We checked in to our lovely Japanese style room, had a soak in the public hot tub (women only) and then enjoyed a fabulous traditional Japanese meal served in our room - see photo for more details!