Hiroshima-ken shares borders with Okayama, Shimane and Yamaguchi prefectures and the more we visit the in-laws the more chances there are to go beyond Hiroshima and visit some new places. Back in May 2013 we went to Iwakuni in Yamaguchi for a day trip and two years later we returned to the prefecture. My father-in-laws sister lives there in Kudamatsu city and so we went to visit her on Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!) albeit without my wife’s father!!
Following a pretty awesome buffet lunch (above), which included sobazushi (something I’ve never seen before), we were driven over to Kasado-jima island which is part of Setonaikai National Park (just like Tomonoura is too as mentioned in my last post) and is connected to the mainland by Kasado Bridge. It was only to be a brief stop on the island where I had a quick look from the various vantage points whilst my wife and her mum had a foot bath and our host looked around the shop. On a beautifully hot day the views across the Inland Sea from the island, which is 36 km in circumference, were quite wonderful and very refreshing.
We later went to Hanaoka Hachimangu shrine which was a nice, peaceful place amidst some fine natural scenery. Not sure about the exact details but it seems like this place is dedicated to horses which was quite interesting to me as I am always keen to see such places of worship devoted to different animals like the elephant one in Minami-Shinagawa or the wolf one in Shibuya.
As well as all the horse pictures on the underside of the main gate (above), there is also a full-sized horse in a stable-like wooden building which supposedly cures you of your ailments if you rub the horse.
The elaborate woodwork comprising Taho-to (multi-treasure tower) is perhaps the most beautiful part of the complex. This two-storied pagoda (below) stands at 13.5 meters high (relatively tall for such pagodas) has been preserved in its original form since it was renovated in 1928.
My wife’s aunt drove us on to a nearby dam (below) for some more views and then it was back to the lovely Japanese-style house where she and her husband live.
Time for some relaxation and circus tricks from Momiji before taking the 75 minute drive back to my in-laws place in Hiroshima to get ready for our trip to Okunoshima (a.k.a. rabbit island) the following morning.