Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Miyajima Island

Miyajima Day Trip

Our second day in Hiroshima was spent on Miyajima Island. When Dave and I visited last May, we didn’t have much time to explore the island. We only had time to visit the Itsukushima Shrine and enjoy lunch.

As I planned the Thompson’s visit, I wanted to include time to explore the entire island and see the giant Torii at both high and low tide. We took a couple trains to Miyajimaguchi Station to catch the ferry to the island. Inevitably, with every Julia tour, sooner or later we will hop on the wrong train. It happened yesterday. We got on the street car instead of the subway.

Fortunately, I noticed after the first stop and we exited at the second. While on the crowded streetcar, Chase snapped a selfie. I guess being on the wrong train wasn’t a complete waste.

The rest of the trip to the island was smooth sailing. We found the right trains and boarded the ferry.

We arrived on the island at high tide. As we walked to the Itsukushima Shrine, we stopped for a few tourist photos.

The Torii at high tide is beautiful. The Shrine and Torii both appear to be floating.

After our visit to the Shrine, we began our walk up to Mt. Misen. The walk was enjoyable and we felt lucky to see even more Sakura.

Along the way, we stopped at a nice restaurant for lunch. It was delicious Japanese cuisine.

We continued our walk and came to an area with a few Sakura trees. As the wind blew, the Sakura petals scattered. It was definitely a highlight.

Our favorite part of this little park was the opportunity for refreshments. Including Bears. Yes, please. I would love a Bear!

Up and up we went. No Julia Tour is complete without a hill to climb.

We made it to the Ropeway and took two trams to the overlook.

The view from the lookout was amazing!!

From the lookout point, we started our way down the mountain. It would take about an hour and we wanted to be down in time for low tide around the Torii. We thought walking down would be easy… But, everyone’s legs were shaking by the end.

We made a quick stop at the five-story pagoda as we walked past.

Our timing was perfect for catching the Torii at low tide. It was even more beautiful than I expected.

We made one last stop for ice cream before leaving the island.

We crossed back on the ferry and took a train back to our hotel. We were all pretty tired from a fun day exploring and hiking.

Itsukushima Shrine

The first part of our tour on Monday morning was a visit to Miyajima Island and the Itsukushima Shrine. The Torii gate of this shrine is one of the most iconic scenes of Japan. Hiroshima Bay has significant tidal changes. We were able to visit the shrine during high tide. This gives the visitor the impression the Torii is floating. During low tide, visitors are able to walk out to the Torii. The views of the Torii as we approached the shrine were majestic. 

One selfie to prove we were here! Pardon my fly away ferry hair! 

Our tour guide shared interesting details about the Shrine. Here is a summary from my notes. 

The Shrine is dedicated to the Shinto Gods of the seas and storms. The island was considered sacred and commoners were not allowed to visit the island. The Shrine was built over the water to allow visitors to make their pilgrimage without actually stepping on the island. 

The red entrance Torii gate, was built over the water for the same reason. Commoners were expected to steer their boats through the torii before approaching the shrine.

Interestingly, in an effort to retain the purity of the Shrine, neither deaths nor births are permitted near the shrine. In fact, terminally ill residents and pregnant residents of the island are expected to return to the mainland to pass away or deliver their child. Simultaneously, burials are prohibited on the island. 

The Itsukushima Shrine was beautiful and presented the opportunity for many incredible pictures. 

After our visit to the Itsukushima Shrine, we walked around the main shopping street. We enjoyed a famous lunch of okonomiyaki. Hmmmm. There was so much going on with this special dish. It was a flour tortilla loaded with everything imaginable. The first picture illustrates the construction of the ingredients. It goes in my list of “I can say I ate it and I don’t need to eat it again.” Honestly, it was the sauce. Too much. It was like a thick and too sweet teriyaki. 

Here is a picture of the history behind the dish. 

The final highlight of Miyajima Island was the number of deer. Yes, deer. Everywhere. And they were looking for food! 

Camped out in front of a restaurant! 

This picture was my favorite! The wild deer was stoically posed by the sign! Ha! 

Miyajima Island was a highlight of the weekend. If we have time when you visit to make the trip, we should spend the night on the island and perhaps do some hiking. I know we will both enjoy our time on the island! 

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