Sunday, June 3, 2012

Miyajima and the floating shrine

From Japan Guide:

"Miyajima is a small island less than an hour outside the city of Hiroshima. Miyajima is most famous for its giant torii gate, which at high tide seems to float on top of the water. The sight is ranked as one of Japan's three best views.
While officially named Itsukushima, the island is more commonly referred to as Miyajima, Japanese for "shrine-island". This is because the island is so closely related to its shrine, Itsukushima Shrine, in the public's mind. Like the torii gate, the shrine's main buildings are built over water."

We stayed a little way up the island in the Momiji so Ryokan. It was run by a husband and wife and old lady  who were very sweet!

It was nice to stay a bit off the tourist trail too, not so busy and very quiet, apart from the monkeys running around on the roof at night. The udon we had for lunch was really tasty too!!

Geta at Momiji so:

Our room at the Ryokan:

On the walk up to the Ryokan we crossed this stream:

After a good sleep we hiked to the top of the island...

...ok we hiked 10 minutes to the gondola which hauled us up for some amazing views:

We weren't so lazy that we took the gondola down as well. We trekked our way down the mountain back to the Ryokan

On the way down there are some great views and picturesque scenery:

Once back down at sea level we explored the temple / shrine. Its built on piles that sit in the sand.

From the shrine you can look out onto the famous Torii over the beach

Even monks need alcohol... and a lot of it if you go by these Sake barrels:

At the shrine we saw a traditional theatre in use. This was very popular, although we couldnt understand much and it seemed very heavy on dialogue (as it seems most Japanese Theatre is)

On closer inspection of the floating Torii (sitting in the sand of the beach) you can see (sea, haha puns are cool) people have shoved coins into the crack for good luck:

How convenient, someone left these flat rocks for us to walk over the trickle of sea water:

On the island are a few temples and Japanese cultural icon thingies. Up above the floating shrine is this open hall and a pagoda.
I have no idea what this copper thign is but its very cool. It could be some kind of compass (the inner wheel is directions)

The floating Temple at high tide

The famous Torii (gate) at high tide:

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