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August 1, 2018

Visit Japan: Miyajima Island

The famous torii on Miyajima Island.

When I told a friend about traveling to Osaka and Kyoto, she strongly suggested that I check out Miyajima island where her family had a great time. Miyajima is a small island near Hiroshima and is famous for their giant torii gate.  Its official name is Itsukushima, but the island is more commonly referred to as Miyajima which is Japanese for "shrine island." 

From Osaka, we took the shinkansen to Hiroshima.  Then after a short train ride and ferry ride, we made it to the island.  Like the rest of the tourists we headed straight for the torii and since it was low tide, we could walk right up to it.  After we took many, many pictures, we explored the island - home of the Istukushima Shrine, an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

We walked along the many shops in search of the best momiji manju.  We found a shop that was making it by hand instead of machine so we bought some there.  While we were enjoying the delicious manju, I spotted a sign for their momiji manju making class.  We signed up and both were able to make 4 delicious manju.  The class wasn't in English, but the staff were very helpful and we had a wonderful time.

One of the reasons I wanted to experience Miyajima was to see the wild deer!  I was warned that they could be aggressive if you had food.  My daughter tried to feed them a manju, but we couldn't get it out of the package quickly enough and the deer already had his head in my backpack.  We totally panicked and my daughter ended up throwing the manju on the ground.  It was a memorable experience, but from it we decided we didn't need to visit Nara where deer also live freely.  Even so, our time at Miyajima Island was definitely the highlight of my trip! 


A short ferry ride to the island.

Wild deer roam free on the island.

A short walk to the famous torii.

At low tide, the bottom of the sea is exposed past the island's torii and at high tide the sea covers the previously exposed seabed so that the torii appears to be floating on the water.

Ice cream is perfect on a hot summer day!

This class was so fun!

The manju were delicious!

The deer are pretty calm until you have food in your hands. 

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