After completing the 380km trek from Nara to Miyajimaguchi on the slow train network I really am in awe of the Japanese rail system. I had bought a regional rail pass that didn’t extend to the super fast Shinkansen bullet trains, meaning I was stuck on the local trains, unless I wanted to fork out a whole lot more cash. The trek was essentially a train relay consisting of 6 changes as I etched across country jumping from one train to another, I had been sweating at the prospect of a few 2 minute transfers that my recommended itinerary proposed, I didn’t miss a single transfer, it was seamless.
The trip took several hours, but it wasn’t a tedious trip at all, the frequent changes really broke the monotony of the long journey. The views from the train windows varied between legs and presented many different landscapes, I especially enjoyed the views of the countryside, seeing the ploughed fields ready for planting, with few crops brightening the ploughed earth, I could see onions, radish and the new seasons growth of broad beans and peas. The wooded hills are a little drap, the spring colours of the deciduous trees yet to add a fresh green bursts to the mottled hues of the evergreen conifers and stands of bamboo, occasionally a flowering cherry tree or plum can be spied, interjecting a shock of brightness against these dusky greens. Passing through urban areas the shrines and temples of the small towns were splendid against the quaint back drops, the tiled rooves of many of the houses creating curved forms, like small scale dragon skin rugs draped atop the houses below. The sea was calm and forgiving as we near the shore, but with very few unobstructed views of the sea I appreciated the few glimpses I got. Seeing the fishing boats bobbing in the small harbours or some distant islands floating in the haze near the horizon.
Arriving in Miyajimaguchi in the early afternoon the sea scape was just a short walk through the fairly drab town. The coastline on the mainland side was well developed indeed, with very little natural looking foreshore visible. The view across the water towards Itsukushima, otherwise known as Miyajima island delivers a lovely view of a forested island, the orange Tori gateway is clearly visible floating just offshore the small town.