Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Power Sightseeing Part II: The Tide is in and the Deer are Out in Miyajima

Last week we had a day of from baseball in Hiroshima, so our JapanBall tour did some power sightseeing. The second stop was Miyajima.

Less than an hour away from Hiroshima lies the tourist attraction of Miyajima, which means "shrine island." The island is considered one of Japan's three most scenic views. (The other two are Matsushima "pine island" in Miyagi Prefecture north of Tokyo and Amanohashidate "bridge in the heaven" in northern Kyoto Prefecture.) Miyajima is bestowed this honor because of the stunning orange torii that sits in the waters before the Itsukushima shrine. Well, it sits in the waters when there are waters.

I almost blew off this part of the tour because when Marc and I went last year, the tide was out, making the view a little . . . eh. Don't get me wrong, I appreciated the opportunity to be there, but I wanted to see in person the same thing I saw on the posters in train stations. Instead, I saw algae and sand. I wasn't disappointed, because I thought it was cool that people could walk up to the gate, but I just wasn't as thrilled as I thought I'd be.

Miyajima 2008 - At low tide

Fellow JapanBallers Dan and David somehow checked and found out that low tide wasn't until 5pm that day. So, at the last minute, I decided to go, and I'm glad I did because the boys were right: The tide was in!

First we waited for the ferry to take us to the island.

After a few minutes on the ferry, I took the picture I wanted to take last year!

Once on the island it doesn't take long to see the pests - I meant deer. They have free range of the island. Now that I've called them pests, I just read articles on Japan Probe and a blog about Itsukushima Shrine that say the deer starving to death because of a feeding ban! Now I'm sad!

Look how cute he is! I don't want them to steal my maps, but I don't want them to starve, either. Poor babies.

Speaking of maps, here's a deer eating a map he pilfered from a tourist.

And this one is going to buy something sweet at this shop.

And here's a little guy on the side of a hill. What's he doing?

He's eating leaves! Okay, good. I feel better about the ability of deer to forage for themselves rather than rely on tourists for sustenance. (Those blog entries I read were a couple of years old, so maybe things have improved.) Back to the torii . . .

Ahh, what a difference a little tide makes!

I was lured by these oysters grilling on a rack. I stopped only to take a picture, but the nice oba-san (old lady - but not in a bad way) working there persuaded me to sit down and eat a couple. She's a really good salesperson. Or I'm a really big sucker. Or both.

Waiting for these oysters almost made us late for the ferry. I stress when I'm late, but I tried to keep my cool. The oba-san assured us we would have no problem making the ferry, and she was right. Really delicious yaki kaki!

So Part II of our power sightseeing day was a success. On to a more somber venue: Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum.

1 comment:

Marc said...

Hmmm. Maybe a steady diet of sightseeing maps eaten from tourist's bags can sustain the deer.