We woke early the next morning to maybe check out the sunrise...(if you click on the photo, it should take you to the video)
Nope...it was all foggy...no deer in sight...yet the tide was out again and it was super peaceful.
In fact, we were wondering if the deer population had dwindled from our previous visit (pre-blog).
The day before there were some deer attacking the maps people were reading, but other than that, they were really low-key and there were not many of them around.
I suspected it was because there were no deer senbei (wafers) being sold like in Nara.
Though the day before, I did see a deer "almost" head-butt a little girl...it was her fault for taunting the deer though...
Blog friend, Rowena, mentioned that this area reminded her of Mont Saint Michel...coincidentally they are sister cities.
It was cool catching glimpses of deer footprints on the sand...
Walking around the area sans tourists was part eery and nice at the same time.
This dude took one look at us and then made his way up the stairs in search of breakfast...
After our own breakfast, we made one more trek to gaze at the torii and then sat down for a decent cup of coffee at Itsuki Coffee.
I was impressed that most shops opened at 9:00 even though there were not a lot of tourists around.
We then said "goodbye" and agreed we would need to return to see the view from Mount Misen.
From Miyajima to Kure it takes about an hour and a half...
Since we had some time, Satoshi wanted to check out the Japan Self Defense Forces Museum as they had a huge submarine on display...
If you look at the picture above, you'll notice the sub is being freshened up...bummer but huge yeah?!
You can sit in the cockpit of the sub...
I, myself would get claustrophobic if I had to work/live in a sub...
Then we headed to Matsuyama by speed ferry.
Luckily we picked up some musubi for the trip (it was 30 minutes to Matsuyama)
Yakisaba (grilled mackerel) and Hiroshima-na (a type of vege similar to chinese cabbage) for Satoshi and fried chicken with a lemon sauce for me...both used ingredients from the Hiroshima area and were a nice snack to tide us over until lunch.
When we arrived in Matsuyama, it was another 50 minutes by bus to Dogo Onsen, one of the oldest hot springs in Japan.
The building was supposedly the inspiration for the bathhouse in "Spirited Away", a Japanese animated movie.
By the time we left our belongings at the hotel and went in search of lunch it was almost 15:00!
We shared this jakko-ten from Tanimoto Kamaboko...a bit too gritty for me, the tempura is made from jakko (tiny sardines) ground into a paste then fried.
This version was also coated with batter and fried again like a croquette.
As we walked in the shopping arcade...Dogonomachiya, a cute cafe caught my eye.
Since it was 15:00-ish, it was "tea time", so we had to wait for seats.
I ordered their fried onion burger...teriyaki sauce smothered the beefy burger.
The fried onion rings were so good and crisp! (that orange on the plate was so sweet!)
Satoshi ordered their fried fish burger which he enjoyed.
We liked the laid back atmosphere and their garden was nice to gaze at too.
We also had ordered coffee with our meals but felt it had been sitting somewhere before they served us...lukewarm...bah!
After lunch, we did a little exploring and came upon this huge yugama (literally hot water pot) which was apparently used before the bathhouses were built.
We also visited Isaniwa Shrine.
Can you believe when Satoshi asked the guy at the tourist information for info on this shrine the guy replied, "it's just a shrine"...it really ticked Satoshi off...
The steps to this shrine are steep and there really aren't any railings (except that chain thingy in the middle) to help you if you are about to fall...
After checking-in, we went to check out the Dogo Onsen baths before dinner..your admission fee determines the level of your "bath experience".
I had actually visited here when I studied in Japan (many moons ago) and was totally disappointed with our "bath experience" this time around.
Maybe because we took the cheapest route, maybe because it was the weekend and "everyone" was visiting...the ratio of bathers totally overloaded the size of the bath...it was so disappointing and not relaxing at all.
Also, unlike most hotel hot spring type baths, you need to bring in your own towels and soap, even pay to use the hair dryers.
More info on fees and hours can be found here.
Dinner was another assortment of different delicacies of the area.
It had been a long day, still I was glad the weather was nice and we got to see and do all that we did.
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