May 29, 2018 – Day Off

Miyajima and Hiroshima

Our visit to the island of Miyajima was a soothing contrast to yesterday. The island is replete with Shinto and Buddhist shrines, pagodas and parks, beautiful scenery and a peaceful ambiance. One of the icons of Japan is the torii leading to the Itsukushima Shrine, which we were able to view at high tide.

Miyajima has been considered a holy place for most of Japanese history. In 806 AD, the monk Kōbō Daishi ascended Mt. Misen and established the mountain as an ascetic site for the Shingon sect of Buddhism. As a sacred island, worshippers to the shrine could not land on the island, but were required to enter the temple through the torii – by water, or, at low tide, by foot.

In the main Itsukushima Shrine (1168), we happened upon a Shinto marriage ceremony. It was very quiet, apart from the low chanting of the priest and occasional pipe music.
We climbed up to the Tahoto Pagoda (1523) the five-storey pagoda (1407) and the Senjokaku Hall (1587) (pavilion of a thousand mats). Then, we sampled the local delicacy- manju, and very good espresso (Miyajima Coffee 8.25/10).

Dinner back in Hiroshima Tempura Tenko was noteworthy. The delicate and mouth-watering vegetable and seafood tempura was served individually right from the fryer and cut up and presented in front of us, together with directions as to use salt, lemon juice or miso. Even the squid was exceptionally tender and tasty!

Wildlife note: osprey fishing close to the torii

Food notes: Hiroshima Okonomiyaki – savoury pancake cooked on an iron hot plate with egg , vegetables including cabbage, and noodles with meat or seafood.

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