Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Miyajima Island - Amanda Schares
Miyajima island is a small island less than an hour outside of Hiroshima city and is just a short ferry ride from the mainland. Though actually named Itsukushima, it is more commonly called miyajima, which is japanese for shrine island. It is most famous for its giant tori gate which seems to float at high tide. Because of its many temples and shrines, the island is considered a very holy place. As such, women were not previously allowed on the island and the sick and elderly people were taken to the mainland to die.
Miyajima island is full of mountains and forests and is fairly removed from the city, making it a nice change in pace. Numerous deer wander the streets and are tame enough to pet. If you have food though, they will not leave you alone. We were able to see then main shrine in the island and then have free time to explore on our own. There were many different shops lining the narrow streets. You could find anything you would ever want, from green tea ice cream to hand painted glassware. One thing that was prominent in many of the shops were wooden spatulas. Miyajima is well known for rice scoops or spatulas and is the home of the worlds largest spatula. This spatula can be seen along the main shopping street on the island.
Miyajima island was wonderful to visit. The island itself was beautiful, with flowers and trees everywhere. The many shrines made the island a very serene place that would be great to visit at night. As we have been spending a lot of time during this tour in big cities, it was very nice to go somewhere that was much smaller. We could have easily spent a whole day there, exploring the mountains and relaxing on the beaches. Miyajima island is very popular tourist destination so there were many people there when we were. It would be amazing to go to the island at night when the big crowds of people are gone and all the lanterns are lit. I had a great time visiting the island and only wish we could have spent more time there!