Thursday, June 15, 2017

Strolling and Snacking in Miyajima

For our last three days (of our ten days) in Japan, our home base was Osaka, but we opted to do day trips from there to other prefectures, intending to make the most of our JR Pass. The eighth day was spent in Himeji City in Hyogo Prefecture, less than a 100 km west of Osaka. And the ninth day was spent farther away, at the prefecture of Hiroshima, about 350 km west of Osaka. With access to the shinkansen, these prefectures didn't seem all that far.

But 10 hours or so to spend in one prefecture, is it even enough? Way too short no doubt, so we picked just a few places to visit in Hiroshima and one of these is the island of Itsukushima aka Miyajima 宮島.

Directions to Miyajima: From Hiroshima Station, take the JR Sanyo line to Miyajimaguchi Station (25 minutes, 410 yen). From Miyajimaguchi Station, walk to the pier, and take the JR ferry or Matsudai ferry to Miyajima (10 minutes, 180 yen). A cheaper (but slower) alternative from Hiroshima Station to Miyajimaguchi Station is to take tram line number 2 (260 yen).

Waiting for the ferry

10-minute ferry ride

We explored Miyajima on foot. From the pier we walked past the town (we spent more time there on the way back), towards the well known Otorii (great torii) of Itsukushima Jinja 厳島神社 (Itsukushima Shrine). On the walk to Itsukushima, we encountered deer freely roaming the streets.



Friendship goals

Itsukushima Shrine
630AM to 6PM (Closes 30 minutes to an hour early from October 15 to end of February)
Admission fee: 300 yen

Itsukushima Shrine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and like its famous giant torii, is built over water. During high tide, the shrine and its torii look like it's floating on water.

Itsukushima Shrine is said to have been built in the year 593. It has undergone many a restoration due to damage from fire, typhoon, etc. We did not visit the shrine itself, but contented ourselves with admiring the shrine's huge torii from the sidelines. Itsukushima Shrine's first torii was built in 1168. The great torii standing now is already the eighth, built in 1875. It was low tide when we visited, but not low enough to walk towards the Otorii and not get our shoes wet.

Itsukushima Shrine

Admiring the Otorii in between lanterns from the sidelines

Itsukushima Shrine's famous great torii

On the other side of the street from Itsukushima Shrine, Toyokuni Shrine's Senjokaku Hall and Gojunoto, its five-storied pagoda, caught our attention. Senjokaku which literally means "pavilion of 1000 mats," was named so because the size of the hall is approximately 1000 tatami mats (one tatami mat is 85.5 cm by 179 cm). The hall was built in 1587 and has remained unfinished. Gojunoto is older than the hall, having been built in 1407.

Senjokaku Hall
830AM to 430PM
Admission fee: 100 yen

The big building in the background is Senjokaku Hall

Gojunoto, five storied pagoda

From both shrines, we continued walking inland towards Momijidani Park. The park has 200 maple trees and because it was autumn (and because I am a sucker for the warm colors of autumn leaves) we simply had to go!

Onward to Momijidani Park

Beautiful autumn day at Momijidani Park


Autumn reflection

While walking around Miyajima, our mouths watered every time we came across food stalls. My friend who could eat melon pan every day was ecstatic to find melon pan stuffed with ice cream. My two other friends couldn't resist trying the fishcake because of its maple shape. And baked sweet potato ice cream? Sweet potato and ice cream?! I had to satisfy my curiosity!!!

Melon pan ice cream sandwich 

Skewered stuff

Sweet potato ice cream

Before we knew it our half a day was already over and we have seen only a small portion of Miyajima. There was still so much to do: a mountain to climb, temples and shrines and museums to visit, and streets to get lost in. Next time (hopefully there will be a next time), I should spend an entire day in Miyajima.

Know Before You Go
Single Entry Tourist Visa for Japan
Roam Around Japan with a Swagger
An Ignoramus in Japan: Vending Machines
An Ignoramus in Japan: Bathrooms and Toilets
An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers
I Spy With My Little Eye: Japan's Fashion Contradictions
I Spy With My Little Eye: On the Go in Japan

From Tokyo to Hiroshima (2015)
10D/9N | Tokyo, Toyama, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Hiroshima
Tokyo Accommodation: Shinjuku Airbnb
Tokyo: Memorable Tokyo Eats
Tokyo: Odaiba
Tokyo: Doing Touristy Things in Tokyo
Toyama: A Hamlet Called Ainokura
Kyoto Accommodation: K's House Hostel Kyoto
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Wisdom from the Road: On exits #2
Kyoto: By the Thousands (Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sanjusangendo, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove)
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Turning Japanese
Kyoto: Braving the Crowds at these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji)
Hyogo, Japanecdote: If Only I Could Speak Nihongo
Hyogo: Day Trip to Himeji: Himeji Castle and Shoshazan Engyoji Temple
Hyogo, Japanecdote: Am I an Alien?
Hiroshima: Strolling and Snacking Miyajima (you're here!)
Hiroshima: Remembering the Past in Hiroshima
Osaka, Japanecdote: How to Lose Friends
Osaka Accommodation: Osaka Airbnb
Osaka, Japanecdote: Where is Bentencho Station?
Osaka: Osaka Castle and Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai
Osaka, Japanecdote: Learn From Your Mistakes

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