Saturday, January 28, 2012

Visiting Miyajima

Daisuke, Naomi and I drove from Hiroshima to meet the ferry to Itsukushima island, the sacred site called Miyajima.
We passed an oyster "farm" between the shores.

The Miyajima Toori (gate) is the famous floating gate to Itsukushima Shrine. Shown here at low tide, in high tide it appears to be floating. It dates back to 1168, though the current gate dates back to 1875. Built of camphor wood, it has 4 legs in addition to the primary columns, providing stability that allows the gate to sit on the surface of the mud, even withstanding typhoons.

Once ashore, visitors are amazed at the number of deer that casually roam the island.

They appeared to pay no attention to the tourists, save nuzzling or snatching the occasional irresistible and unguarded tote bag.

We headed for the Itsukushima Shrine.

Its first buildings were erected in the 6th C, but the present shrine was constructed in 1168. Beside the shrine is a noh stage.
We continued along the path and steps up the mountainside to Daishi-do Hall, where Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism was enshrined in 9th C.

Lining the steps to the temple are statues of 500 disciples, each unique.

This sand mandala was made by Tibetan Buddhist priests, depicting divine figures of Kunnon Bosatsu, the symbol of mercy.

The ceiling is decorated with beautiful botanical pictures.

Naomi, Daisuke and I are all horses (far left) despite being of different ages.

The crocheted hats and scarves are provided by worshippers, some who have lost children and tend to Jizo Bosatsu images to redeem the spirits of deceased babies and children.

The view down to the shore is breathtaking.

When I replied in the affirmative to the question "do you eat oysters?", Daisuke took us to Kaki-Ya. Just inside the entry a man tends oysters on the chargrill. We enjoyed some and these as well:

fried panko breaded, poached, oil-cured, in rice and even in the miso soup! It was truly one of the most outstanding meals of my life!

We toured a few shops afterwards and I purchased oyster soy sauce and oyster rice to make the moment last.

As the day wrapped up we stopped at this cafe for an herbal tea. The floor was all cushioned and pillows lined the walls. The "tables" were wooden rounds. Fabulous.
In a few short hours we would join Mr and Mrs Harada, Kei, Shinichi, HyoMin, Mayumi, Shoko, Asako for welcome dinner #2, at Suishin. Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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