Miyajima: heaven in Japan
you may have wondered why I haven’t posted in over a week. Last summer we travelled through Japan for three weeks. Great memories which I wanted to capture in a picture book. This has been my project over the last several days. Going through all those different places we have had the joy of visiting so many great places and meet such nice people. Today I am writing about my favourite place among favourites in Japan, which is a small island of the south coast of Japan. It is called Miyajima and it is the home to the most fantastic sunset location. But there is more than meets the eye at first sight. Let me share the most amazing spots and must tries we enjoyed on this beautiful island.
Taking the local train from Hiroshima it takes less then half an hour to get to the ferry that brings you to the island (all covered by the Japan railpass). This may be one of the reasons why many people visit the island know for it’s large Torii in the sea of the Itsukushima Shrine on a day trip. We decided to go all in and stay over night to be able to enjoy the renowned sunset. Arriving on the island we were immediately greeted by the free roaming deer. They are very friendly, but do try to eat anything remotely eatable like a paper map.
We had about ten minutes walk from the ferry to our guest house and friendly islanders stopped to ask, to make sure we were able to find our way. The Miyajima Guesthouse, japanese style, was our home for the night. The people were extremely friendly and the central living room was full of musical instruments and arts and crafts for you to try and use. The house was so well taken care of with a beautiful garden. At night many of the restaurants close as not to many people stay at the island, but our host showed us a few options to choose from.
After dropping the bags we roamed the local park and went to see the local village and the Itsukushima Shrine. It was still low tide and we could walk all the way up to the Torii, meeting the small crabs that were hiding below the stones in the seabed. Seeing the sea come in and the sun slowly going under gave us the most spectacular colour show. As there were not many people around the whole site was so calming and impressive.
Of course we had to try the okonomiyaki a multilayered local dish sometimes translated as the Japanese pancake. We went to this small place, where you actually dine at the bar surrounding the kitchen. The food prepared right in front of you on the hot plate. Egg, cabbage, noodles, rice pancake, seafood, and more covered by a delicious sauce. We felt very special being part of this setting and tasting the wonderful food.
The next morning we had the chance to visit the Daisho-In tempel, which is from the 12th century and is part of an array of holy places on the island. This place is just amazing. Situated on the hill amid the beautiful nature, you get really impressed by all the different colours of green. The fabulous craftsmanship put into the construction of the temple buildings and artefacts and the Japanese love for symmetry and all the symbolism. It makes me want to learn Japanese and much more about the culture.
We did not take the cable car to the highest point on the island. if you stay a few days and have good walking shoes with you, you should certainly do there.
In stead we visited several other spots on the island including a pagoda and ventured the shopping streets to explore some local specialities. There are many oyster places and local bakery shops to choose from. You can have the oysters and the cakes with filling in many different ways.
We were so sad to have to leave this island so soon as we headed to Hiroshima for our next stop. The host of the guesthouse was so grateful for our stay and offered us each an origami package as a gift. Paper with the most beautiful Japanese scenes and decors.
I am curious to hear if you like this post and want to read about some other places we visited during our trip through Japan.