On my second day in Hiroshima I bought a slightly more expensive streetcar-and-ferry pass, and in the morning travelled down tram route 2 all the way to the terminus, Miyajima-guchi. This was another transport surprise, because after a dozen stops in street-tramway mode, à la Leeds or Sheffield circa 1950, the streetcar turns a corner into a complicated little station and then becomes a fully-fledged railway, like the Fleetwood tramroad but far longer, with houses backing on to the track, stations at regular intervals and endless automatic full-barrier crossings. A road-sign outside Miyajima-guchi station shows the distance back to Hiroshima as 23km, but the rail line is actually 16.1km.
The ferry takes about fifteen minutes to cross a stretch of water to a wonderfully picturesque island, Miyajima, with the steep, deeply forested mountains that you see in Japanese prints, and on the foreshore the Itsukushima Shrine, ostensibly dating back to the twelfth century but apparently last replaced in 1875. Tourists flock to photograph themselves with their backs to this monument; schoolchildren are brought in droves to line up for class photographs. There are sacred deer, in Shinto belief the messengers of the gods, which are regularly fed by the tourists, despite notices forbidding it.
The Hiroden public-transport operator, through its subsidiary Hiroshima Tourism Promoting [Hiroshima Kankō Kaihatsu] runs a ropeway up the sacred Mount Misen. The upper terminus is a thirty-minute hike to the actual summit at 1,755 feet but you can’t have everything: the ropeway takes out 945 feet of that climb and every little helps.
The island has much else to offer, several temples and a pagoda, and spectacular displays of blossom in spring and maple leaves in autumn. I could cheerfully return for a Japanese holiday on Miyajima, knowing that a day-visit to Hiroshima city is easily practical.