Miyajima (Shrine Island) is, as the name implies, the site of a number of striking shrines and temples. It claims to be “one of Japan’s Three Most Scenic Spots” (the others being the Amanohashidate sandbar and Matsushima Bay, neither of which I have seen.)
The island was visited by Kobodaishi in they year 806 and has a number of Shingon Buddhist temples. Because of the island’s sacred status, no one is allowed to die or be born there. I don’t know what the penalty is for breaking this rule.
To get to the island you must take a ferry, which runs every half hour.
The ferry passes rows of oyster farms.
As the ferry approaches the terminal, the famous Otorii, the “floating” torii of the Itsukushima Shrine, can be seen to the right.
Deer wander everywhere on the island. They are totally unafraid of humans and you can pet them.
However they are still wild animals and should be treated with a certain amount of caution.
Guidebooks warn that the deer will eat just about anything including paper shopping bags, tickets and other valuables.
The Omotesando shopping district is a small group of stores located midway between the ferry terminal and the Itsukushima shrine.
A number of shops have huge machines in their windows for making “momiji manju”, a maple-leaf-shaped pastry that comes with a variety of fillings.
Fresh oysters are available in a number of different forms. Yum!
Another form of the “beckoning cat.”
The world’s largest rice scoop.
Actually the island is famous for rice scoops and many are sold as souvenirs. Apparently they are traditional offerings to the shrine.
OK, I don’t know what a pocari is, but this is still sort of disturbing.
This shop has a beautiful garden in back.