On our second day in Hiroshima, we headed out to Miyajima (“shrine island”), an island located in Hiroshima Bay. Miyajima’s real name is Itsukushima (Miyajima is a nickname) and it’s famous for a shrine on the island with the same name. We almost didn’t go because it was raining, but I’m so glad we did because it was amazing and the day ended up turning sunny anyway.
There are two kinds of ferry boats you can take to get to Miyajima — JR and Matsudai. We took a Matsudai ferry because the JR ferry is free with a Japan Rail Pass so we figured it would be more crowded. The two ferries are otherwise basically the same.
The ferry has these weird seats inside that look like someone’s living room.
“Why are we sitting here?” Mike asks.
Watching the JR ferries.
We actually sat outside on the top deck.
It was really foggy and rainy that morning, but you can sort of see the famous “floating” torii gate in the background.
Arrived on the island! The ferry only takes about ten minutes.
Just like Nara, Miyajima is full of tame deer roaming around.
But! The deer in Miyajima are much nicer than the deer in Nara because you’re not allowed to feed them. So they’re not aggressive at all. (Unlike the deer in Nara, who will probably attack you and try to bite you in a desperate attempt to get at your deer crackers.)
The floating torii gate.
Being a tourist.
The tide going out.
Oh, what’s that? You’re selling giant grilled Miyajima oysters?
YES I WILL TAKE SOME PLEASE.
This is like a painting of Japan or something.
Mike is too tall for torii gates.
After it stopped raining, the sun came out, which made the roof of the shrine all steamy.
Low tide. The torii gate is no longer floating, but you can walk right up to it.
Deer drying off in the sun.
The beach. It ended up being so nice and sunny!
According to Wikipedia, there has been a torii gate here since 1168, but the current gate was built in 1875.
It’s kind of cool when it’s exposed.
More deer drying.
The island of course has lots of shops selling souvenirs, food, and other items. It’s not Japan if you can’t get some omiyage.
Miyajima is famous for momiji manju, which are small cakes in the shape of a Japanese maple leaf. You can get these in Hiroshima as well, but on the island they make them fresh and they’re a million times better!
YUM. We tried a variety of flavours: red bean (the standard), peach, cream cheese, chocolate, custard…
They went well with this cute cup of Miyajima coffee.
There’s even Hello Kitty momiji manju!
Wah, cute deer.
I’m going to end this entry on a high note: THIS HAPPY DEER IS THE CUTEST THING EVER. ^_^
If you’re in Hiroshima and you’re on the fence about visiting Miyajima, I can say that it’s definitely worth it. How can you pass up cute deer, a floating torii gate, oysters, delicious manju, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and apparently one of the three greatest views in Japan? Plus, it’s very easy to get to from Hiroshima AND you get to ride a boat. But I’d go again just for the oysters and the deer.