Mt Misen on Miyajima Island, Hiroshima.
I took a cable car up to Mt Misen as the last sightseeing stop for the day. At 4.15pm. there wasn’t any queue for the cable car at the base station. That seemed like a good decision until I found out that the last cable car down is at 5.30pm! That means there was only about 1 hour left for sightseeing!
A plus for going up this late is to catch the sunset! check out the sunset timing to plan your trip.
However, be prepared for a mad rush. From the cable car station on top of Mt Misen to the Holy Flame (Kiezu-no-hi) there is a short distance to hike and the route is up and down the mountain slope. It is challenging if you are short of time.
Therefore, if you wish to visit the holy flame at the summit, do allow sufficient time. Check out the time tables.
I reached Kiezu-no-hi panting like crazy. This is a must do item for me because I was very impressed that a flame (probably used for fire puja) can be kept burning for 1,200 years after the holy monk completed his training. His disciples must really be committed to feed the flame for so long!
Perhaps due to the late hours, there wasn’t much tourist left and I got to do what I came to do. I had wanted to drink the water that is boiled using the holy flame ! YES!
It is said that holy water boiled with this fire works for all sorts of diseases and is good for health.
I read about it on the internet but didn’t know how the water can be obtained.
When you enter the holy flame shrine, you will see a large cauldron over the sacred flame. On the left side of this cauldron is a bench with paper cups and a ladle.
When I saw the paper cups, my heart leapt with joy!
Very cautiously, I shifted the heavy lid covering the cauldron slightly. Then I manage to scoop some of the water into the paper cup, using the ladle.
Close the lid back, kept the ladle back to its original place. Then I got to enjoy my holy water outside the shrine. Yeah!
I was so terrified that my clumsiness might overturn something or knock something over and the whole process of obtaining the water was done with an almost tea ceremony mindfulness. I must say I never obtained drinking water with so much effort and mindfulness before.
Note: Miyajima Island is a wonderful place to visit if you are in Hiroshima. During my visit in 2017 November 9, I decided to spend a night there and discovered to my disappointment that the island is dead silent after 6pm! Finding a restaurant to have dinner is also a challenge with most of the restaurants closed.
But if you are looking for a quiet escape, then strolling the silent streets lit by street lights and laterns may be a joy for you.