After setting a personal challenge one 周六urday morning to get onto the 7:05 ferry, the effort paid off with rewards of fantastic early morning views including viewing sunrise over the island just before the ferry pushed off.
My basic daytrip plan was to arrive early and leave by 3pm to avoid the crowds and enjoy a more peaceful, simple and beautiful 宫岛 experience. My first view of the island was of the normally packed streets in front of the ferry- even the deer seemed surprised to see me so early.
A wander through the main and side streets of this island before 9am offers views that few visitors are offered. Shops and the bulk of visitors don’t arrive until at least 10am. Arriving before 8am allowed me time to wander the sights and take in the early morning views as if I had the island to myself.
当我在大正院周围的后街徘徊时，我经过了一些咖啡馆，面包店和咖啡店，’营业至上午10点，但是一个早起的友好的茶馆老板在楼梯上招呼我。 平松町 on top of a hill with a smile and a simple English query,“tea?”. It’s not the cheapest place to get a drink, but the view is worth it. After seven coins were exchanged for the tea and cake I soaked in the morning view of the incoming ferries and Tori gate and pagoda with a view of the autumn trees here and there. The warm bowl of green Matcha tea was freshly frothed and served in handmade pottery accompanied by a warm 满治文殊 海绵蛋糕是岛上的招牌甜点，很受欢迎。
A short stroll on the nature trail brought me to the gate of grand Daishoin-temple where I slowly made my way up the stairs spinning prayers up to the heavens as I climb. The many interesting temple structures, Jizo statues- all with unique expressions, and so many other significant symbols and views can be enjoyed here.
Everything at Daishoin is beautifully framed in autumn by the many trees on the grounds glowing with color. It’s good manners (and kharma) to make at least one offering at one of the donation boxes to express gratitude for passage into this magical place.
Heading through 宫岛’s most famous Momijidani-koen park around 9:30, early morning hikers and photographers were dotted here and there, but it was still quiet enough to think my own thoughts to the tune of the mountain stream and birds in the trees.
Following the clear signs past the ropeway to the Momijidani-course I was warned that it would take at least 90 minutes to the top of Mt.Misen, but it was a beautiful day and I was keen and invigorated by the views and fresh forest air, so up the many stairs I went.
At just under 1km to go until the top, the trail joins a path from the top of the ropeway station and warmed up and now in a t-shirt and swigging water I am met by a different breed of visitors, many dressed warmly for winter, walking the shorter (yet still challenging) path to the summit.
Heading back down around noon, I heard the announcements in English and 日本 for ropeway customers to expect crowds and long lines for those heading to the summit at peak time. I decide to save my knees from the climb down and buy a ¥1000 ropeway ticket which includes passage on both the 30 person gondola and the 8 person version on the lower half of the journey. Great views all the way down.
On my way back through Momijidani Park at peak time was a very different experience as crowds of people fill every path, artists and picnickers under every tree. It was still beautiful and I was lucky enough to capture some lovely views including a young wedding couple heading to the famous Momijidani bridge for official photos.
在返回渡轮的路上，我从一个古老的卖家那里买了些momijimanju蛋糕纪念品，在主要的购物街上喝了当地的无花果冰沙，从后街面包店买了一些面包，然后悠闲地享受着 Tono-oka Chaya的Chikara乌冬面碗 宝塔旁的一家经典餐厅。
As I was leaving on the ferry I heard visitors around me happily discussing the highlights of what they saw and ate on their trip to the island. I was certainly amongst the many thinking about how soon I could return to do it all again.