The Japanese say there are three great sites in Japan. In my second week in Koryama I went to one of the three places -- Matsushima. As you may recall, I thought it was pretty overrated and basically a tourist trap. You can read about my experience in Matsushima here.
While in Hiroshima I had the opportunity to go to the 2nd great site -- Miyajima. Miyajima, unlike Matsushima, was indeed breathtaking. Miyajima is famous for the giant orange floating tori gate in front of Itsukushima Shrine. I got to the island early in the morning which meant it was still low tide. Since the water wasn't up to the shore yet I was able to walk almost all the way up to the tori. By the time I left the island, the tori was completely surrounded by water.
As great as the tori was, the highlight of the day was hiking up to Mt. Misen. The hike took approximately an hour and a half and was straight uphill. There was a cable car to the top which I decided not to take. When I got to the top of the mountain I was dripping in sweat...whereas everyone else seemed to be pretty fine considering they just had to walk fifteen minutes from the cable car station.