Sunday, July 10, 2011

Miyajima Island and the floating Torii Gate...

Miyajima Island, also known as "Land of the Gods", was an amazing side trip from Hiroshima that we made while we were down there.  The island is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine.  This "floating" torii gate is one of the 3 most photographed sites in Japan after Mt Fuji of course.

We took a ferry over to the island from Miyajima, then spent the day on the island.  It's a nature preserve, so there are wild deer walking all over the island and not paying any attention to the millions of tourists that are visiting it.  Well, unless you're like Amanda and have muffins in your pockets, they try and follow you and nibble at your pockets all day!  Otherwise, I couldn't believe how they were just walking around the town like it was normal.

During high tide, the torii gates and shrine appear to be floating as an entrance to the island with the mountains in the background.  People were kayaking under the torii gates, which was pretty cool.  I wanted to do it, but our group was a little too tired from the night before.  Guess we'll just have to go back and do that next time.  When it's low tide, visitors are able to walk right out to the torii gates and stand next to it.  Kinda crazy!  I think it's my favorite shrine I've visited so far!

Surrounding the shrine was a quaint, little town and other shrines.  We enjoyed another delicious lunch and then made our trek to the top of Mt Misen, the tallest point on the island.  We hiked a little along with taking a cable car with amazing views!  From the top, we were able to see all the little islands in the bay.  They didn't turn out as well on camera because of the mist and clouds.  Pretty, none the less!
at the top of Mt. Misen

If you ever make it down to Hiroshima, Miyajima Island and the floating torii gate is a MUST!!  I'll just let you see for yourself with all the pictures.  Don't forget it was an overcast day the whole time, but still just as beautiful!
Miyajima Island in the mist
view from the ferry
deer roamed all over the town!

view of the 5 story pagoda from the shrine

Such a pretty town to walk around in! 

view from the cable car ride up to the top of the mountain 
on a clear day you can see many of the little islands from the top of Mt Misen
we hiked to the top of that mountain!
low tide

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