Located in the South of Japan’s main island, Miyajima island is better known for its beautiful, enormous Tori gate that stands in marshland and is often partially covered in water. To one side it stands tall against the green mountains of Miyajima island while on the other side it serves as a frame for Hiroshima’s coastline.
After visiting Himeji castle, I should have known better, but I didn’t expect much from Miyajima, The only thing I wanted was a good night of sleep and good pictures of the Tori.
I took the passenger ferry from Hiroshima (included in the JR pass) late afternoon. As the sun was setting, it turned an ordinary ferry ride into a spectacular moment. Looking towards Miyajima and at the first sight of the Tori bathed in golden light, my heart somersaulted. I couldn’t contain my excitement and my finger on the camera trigger button.
I will let the pictures speak by themselves:
Exploring the island and butt cracks
After arriving in Miyajima and filling an SD card with shots of the picturesque island, I dropped my bag at the guesthouse and met one of my roommates (another woman solo traveler). We exchanged tips and I went out in search of dinner and night shots of the Tori.
Upon returning from my walk, I was ready for a good night of sleep and that is when the funniest moment of my trip happened. Returning to my room from a shower I opened the rice paper door to an almost naked man (the third occupant in the room) who was, I kid you not, laying sideways in his speedo underwear half-wedged in his butt, uncovered and facing the door.
I immediately closed the door thinking I walked into the wrong room and then after checking the number again, reopened the door and thankfully the man had turned towards the wall and half-covered himself. As quickly as possible, I laid down on my futon and stared at the ceiling, waiting for the other woman sharing the room to return. I knew I was not going to fall asleep until she was back.
Somehow just having somebody else in the room made me less uncomfortable with the guy sleeping in his underwear less than 3 feet away from me. I knew when I booked the room that it was a mixed dorm room, but I thought everyone would know the basic rules of sharing a mixed dorm (walking in your underwear is definitely not okay).
While staring at the ceiling for what seemed like forever, I thought about my options. They looked dim. No other rooms were available, the place was fully booked. I was exhausted and probably would not find another hotel this late at night. There were no ferries out of the island. I was stuck in this guesthouse.
Feeling like I may be overreacting to the situation, I challenged my own reaction. Would I be feeling this uncomfortable if the man looked like Tatum Channing instead of a middle-aged drunk weirdo? Probably not, but then again, I have never seen anyone that looks like Tatum in real life.
This was the first moment in this trip, when I started realizing that maybe hostels and backpacking are really not my thing anymore.
When my roommate got back, she must not have had the same welcome I did because she promptly laid down and was out for the night.
I must have fallen asleep at some point, because sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up when the same man opened the door and walked out of our room to use the bathroom presumably, still only wearing his underwear.
I debated taking a picture of him for posterity, but it’s bad enough that the image will be imprinted in my memory forever, I didn’t want it to be imprinted in yours too.