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!