Hey everyone! As you all may already know, or maybe not, CIEE students had an amazing group trip this weekend where we experienced both Hiroshima and Miyajima in just three short days. Both locations were beautiful and Hiroshima itself was both interesting and insightful as we were allowed to tour the Hiroshima Peace museum, visit the peace park, view the A-bomb Dome and attend a guest lecture by a Hibakushiya (Atomic bomb survivor). As the Hiroshima part of our trip (and pics) were already covered in another blog post by my good friend Jennifer, I would like to try and cover more details about our experience in Miyajima.
Miyajima is a small island located less than an hour away from Hiroshima and takes about 10-15 minutes by boat to reach. Miyajima is also known as shrine island as it's most recognizable feature is the large red tori gate greeting visitors and marking the symbolic and sacred entrance into a Shinto ground of worship. Itsukushima shrine in Miyajima is mainly built on top of the water much like how the famous red gate is built above water as well.
We arrived at Miyajima around nine in the morning and were given a tour of Itsukushima Shrine and some brochures of main attractions beforehand so many of us were already pumped and super excited to explore. Aside from the stunning shrines, Miyajima also offered beautiful autumn views of crimson leaves and natural scenes in Momijidani park.
Another interesting tidbit about Miyajima is the numerous wild deer that roam the island. Most of them have gotten used to tourists and so many of the deer casually walk up to sniff and eat paper/clothes of passersby. One of the students in our group learned this lesson when a part of his map was eaten by a deer as he was attempting to take a photo of said deer.
We were only given a little more than an hour to explore Miyajima after our tour of the shrine and trip by cable cars up to the top of Mt. Misen. However, Miyajima is also famous for its succulent oysters and momijimanjus, which are maple leaf shaped cakes normally filled with azuki or red bean paste but can be found filled with anything from chestnut cream to cheese as well, momijimanjus are commonly brought back by tourists as gifts for friends and family. Because I am a huge glutton (or inner fatty) the short time and numerous opportunities to eat genuinely unique and mouth watering food propelled me to try to eat as many different variations of Miyajima foods as I could in under an hour...and eat I did.
Below is collection of all the foods I managed to sample while on our Miyajima trip!!!
As I ran out of time to take pictures last minute some of the foods not pictured that I sampled were baked sweet potato with vanilla soft serve ice cream!
By the end of our day at Miyajima I was immensely content with all the wondrous places we were able to visit and see and definitely all the superb food I was able to eat along the way. Both mentally, physically and emotionally I was beyond content. Of course my only regret was not getting enough time to visit the famed crafts district of Miyajima or the aquarium.
Not as important as the prior regret but a regret related to my gluttony my only other regret was, of course, that I was unable to eat and slowly enjoy more than one share of each of these various types of delicacies offered on Miyajima (please forgive my gluttonous ways). Overall though, I was indeed very satisfied, to say the least, with our day trip to Miyajima and overall our weekend trip in general. I am very much looking forward to experiencing and sharing about the winter and Christmas seasons of the year in Japan. Until then stay warm!