Spring in Japan: Miyajima

My second day in Hiroshima was spent mostly in Miyajima.  Miyajima, (also known as Itsukushima), is an island off of Hiroshima that is famously known for the giant, “floating”, red gate in the sea, next to the famous shrine.  They say the gate is floating because during high tide, the water covers the entire bottom of the gate.  Apparently in the past, the island was  considered a sacred land and normal people were not allowed to enter.  Those who did had to pass through the red gate, or torii.

Unfortunately for me it was raining the entire day but I still braved the weather as this would be the only day I could go.  I had purchased a 2-day pass that included a free ferry ride and ropeway ticket that expired that day.  The ferry ride was nice and short, with a nice view of the port:

 

Where I came from.

Where I came from.

Approaching Miyajima.

Approaching Miyajima.

The island itself has a variety of shrines and temples, along with Buddhist statues scattered around the roads.  Mixed with the traditional buildings are stands and stores selling food and momiji manju – a maple leaf shaped treat filled with flavored cream.  Miyajima is famous for momiji manju so there are countless stores selling it:

 

How momiji manjuu is made!

How momiji manjuu is made!

Here are just some of the pictures I took of Miyajima:

 

The famous "floating" red gate.

The famous “floating” red gate.

Wooden spoons used to serve rice are said to have been invented here.  Needless to say, that's a huge spoon.

Wooden spoons used to serve rice are said to have been invented here. Needless to say, that’s a huge spoon.

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The fact that its wearing a Spongebob t-shirt next to a Santa Winnie the Pooh made me chuckle.

The fact that its wearing a Spongebob t-shirt next to a Santa Winnie the Pooh made me chuckle.

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Trees are considered sacred here so they are not cut for lumber.

Trees are considered sacred here so they are not cut for lumber.

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Quite the wet day...

Quite the wet day…

Map of Miyajima, and a resting place for a certain someone.

Map of Miyajima, and a resting place for a certain someone.

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the ropeway to Mt. Misen and hiking was out of the question due to the slippery ground.  Honestly, after the hike to the Peace Pagoda, I wasn’t particularly in the mood to do the hike anyways.  I really wish I was able to get on to the summit—I hear the view is fantastic!  I guess another time.  If you ever visit Hiroshima, going to Miyajima is a must.  Despite the weather and not being able to get to the top of Mt. Misen, it was a fun day trip.

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