Review: Fujitaya — and trek through Miyajima…

21 January 2015

I woke up the next day, still enjoying the memories of that wonderful tempura course at Tenko Honten [天甲 本店], but planning a very busy day — a day-trip to the island known as Miyajima. A big tourist draw, a UNESCO site, it has been a place for religious pilgrimages for centuries. My choice to go there was a little different, partly focused on what is supposedly the very best eel restaurant on the planet, Fujitaya [ふじたや].

I made the long ride on Hiroshima’s unique tram system to a southern suburb where the ferry to Miyajima runs. BTW did you know that 2 of the trams running on that awful day in 1945 that survived the atomic blast, #651 and #652, are STILL running today? I didn’t get to see them, apparently they only come out on special occasions now or when traffic is especially busy…

Took about an hour to get to the ferry port and it was a quick 10-minute ride across the water. I explored part of the town and saw the famous O-Torii “floating” in the water adjacent to the Itsukushima Shrine.

torii1

I then explored part of the various shrines and pagodas in the centre of town before making a direct walk south for my early lunch.

Fujitaya, believe it or not, has a Michelin star. This humble little eatery has the reputation of having the very best anago, caught wild. And as I ordered, I started to sweat. It was rather warm outside, and the heat was yet blasting… I survived until the course arrived.

eel_course

This looked fantastic. The soup, which I had first, focused on the oysters within — another of the region’s famous items. Then I dug into the eel.

anago

Wow, these were excellent. Fresh and you can taste the difference with these wild eels, more character. A light amount of sauce are on these treats, which were charcoal grilled out back. Fabulous. The rice beneath turned out to be vital in a carb boost I didn’t original plan on needing…

I headed out and walked south to the famous Daisho-in shrine complex for a long trek around. Beautiful, it’s absolutely worth a trip.

d-i2

The amount of details in all parts of this shrine, to the thousands of statues, are unique and fascinating.

d-i3

My new Twitter avatar is in fact one of the more whimsical of the statues.

f1

I really recommend this place, it has so many things to see. It’ll occupy you for hours, but I didn’t have time…

d-i1

At this point I wasn’t planning a hike up Mount Misen, as it was warm and I wasn’t equipped; plus my shoes were damaged in Tokyo from the cemetery hikes. But there were a group of Chinese tourists cackling and annoying me, so to get away I headed to the gate marking one of the 3 hiking trails up Mount Misen.

gate up

This was dumb. I was sweaty and hiking with jeans (which, when soaked in sweat, shrink and make climbing that much tougher) up at time rather steep steps. These were some of the easy ones…

climb

I took a rest here and there in the 2km+ climb, but were rewarded with these views.

early view

Beautiful, just to make one forget the pain in one’s thighs from the steps. There was over 2000 steps on this route just to the mountain complex, and another 1000+ to the summit… I read this afterwards…

early view2

But after about 90 minutes and a few breaks, I got to the mountain complex. This was the gate up on top.

gate at top

Beautiful. Then I explored some of the isolated shrines up there, including one that featured a flame that had burned non-stop for over a millennium — the one that served as the pilot light of the eternal flame at Hiroshima’s Atomic Memorial…

I got myself to the summit finally, and wow…what a view…

up view

It seems this guy’s knackered from the trek too…

knackered

After a little more exploring I decided to head down as I had a sushi reservation to get to, and I certainly need a shower beforehand. I hiked another 15 minutes up and down more steps to get to the Ropeway that would bring me down, but shit…just as I got there it said it was under repairs until February! Why no signs elsewhere? UGH!

As any hiker/climber knows, the dangerous part of any trek is coming downhill. You’re tired, muscle fatigue makes you less steady (especially with narrow and steep and high steps here). You take stupid chances and you tend to get hurt going down. Especially as it was not a clean path (I took another path down) with far more rocks and of course, water run-off and the inevitable rain… The view helped, but…

climb down

I was nearly running down the 2.5km path and actually made it in 45 minutes, falling just once, but putting a few more holes into my shoes. I’m surprised my foot didn’t bleed as the sharp rock penetrated my sock at one point too. I was a knackered mess as I got back down and headed to the port, to be greeted by the O-Torii again but now with the tide receded.

torii2

This was a great view as I headed onto the boat to the hour-long tram ride back to the centre, and then sushi tonight. I reckon I earned it as I grimaced each step back to the hotel…

Painful, but worth it folks. Eel, views, and a workout better than any gym.

Fujitaya [ふじたや]
Hatsukaichi, 125-2 Miyajima-cho
Itsukushima, Japan

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2 thoughts on “Review: Fujitaya — and trek through Miyajima…

  1. Pingback: Review: Hitoshi | melhuang1972

  2. Pingback: Review: Sakarura | melhuang1972

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