Miyajima

In Britain, this would be the equivalent of a punk eating chips standing in front of a Routemaster bus, with the Houses of Parliament in the background... it's such an iconic Japanese scene, it is almost (unfairly) unremarkable when you first see it from the ferry that takes you from Hiroshima to the small island of Miyajima just off the coast. The island is beautiful and the temple complex, of which the torii gate in the sea is part of, reveals its paradise-esque qualities as you walk along its wide promenade, flanked by stone lanterns. Golden sand, crystal clear water and wild deer (of course) are all set against the backdrop of Mt Misen, a fantastic vantage point to take in the view of the tiny islands that speckle Hiroshima Bay.

Our eye-wateringly early start meant we got to see the famous briny torii gate at high and low tide. High tide gives you uninterrupted views, low tide is where you can walk out and get right up to the normally hidden lower portion (of course by this time everybody has arrived, so its tranquil, mystic properties are replaced with people with selfie sticks).*

We dodged mamushi (deadly snakes) and walked up to the summit of the mount. We felt like Sir Edmund Hillary with tales of daring-do about our long death-defying hike, taking in ancient temples and long-abandoned shrines up to the unchartered summit... Only to find the wonderful scandi-observation post was filled with 'other people', gah! We took the rope-car (cable car) to the bottom in disgust...

* To be fair, Japan bans selfie sticks in certain areas - what a civilised country!