This hike was unplanned and unexpected but those tend to be the best moments when travelling. I was with a bunch of people from a G Adventures tour group. We were in Hiroshima and took the ferry to the island of Itsukushima, where the famous floating gate/Miyajima/Itsukushima Shrine is situated.

After doing the cheesy touristy photo shots with the floating gate, we were given a list of optional activities to do before heading back to Hiroshima. About 7 of us opted for the hike up Mount Misen. There was an option to take a cable cart to the top but we wanted to enjoy the journey up.

Miyajima

“It’s very easy,” the locals said. “It doesn’t take very long,” we were told. Oh how misled were we! What we all thought was going to be fairly easy walk to the top turned out to be a gruelling 90 minute hike (one way). Initially, we were taking our time, stopping for photos, talking and laughing. But after a long while, we realised we were still nowhere near the top! And we had to complete the hike in time so we didn’t miss the ferry back to Hiroshima. This is the part I remember the most. I think during the most intense part of the hike I took the lead, and we were all so quiet. All I could hear were our footsteps as we maintained our level of pace, as well as my own deep breath and heart pumping through my chest as we powered through. This is the perfect example of being in the moment, listening to your body and feeling alive!

This is  also why it’s important to always wear comfortable shoes, as you never know what you may end up doing – unlike my friend who had ballet flats on (lol!).

View from the top

I distinctly remember a gentleman walking down towards us. We asked him how much further to the top. In writing, it won’t do the moment justice but his response was “It’s just another 10min….*pause*….to the first base, and then another 40mins or so to the top.” During that pause, I was so relieved we only had 10 minutes left, until he finished the rest of his sentence. At the time, I thought, “WHYYYYYYYY DID YOU SAY IT LIKE THAT?!?!?!?!” But in hindsight, it’s hilarious and I’ll probably use it on someone else.

We eventually made it to the top. The view was beyond words. It completely took my breath away and every step I took to get to the top of Mount Misen was worth it. There is a possibility that my opinion of the view at the time was influenced by the fact that I slogged my way up to see it. But I think the pictures say it all, and many pictures we did take! We certainly took our time up there after all our hard work, and there were no objections when we decided to take the cable cart down. I am so glad I completed the unplanned hike. I will always remember this day and the company I had. It is one of my favourite travel memories.

View from the top