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Hiroshima Day 2: Miyajima

Hiroshima Adventure Day 2: Miyajima Edition.
Miyajima is an island a little ways away from Hiroshima, which is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine. It's simply..well, you'll see in the photos below (there will be many).

Miyajima isn't terribly difficult to get to since it's a huge tourist destination for foreigners and Japanese alike. It's a half-hour train ride to Hatsukaichi and then a fifteen minute ferry ride from there to the island.

We were greeted on the island by deer. Small, curious, perpetually hungry deer. They're so used to people that you can get right in their faces and the most they'll do is sniff you to see if you have food. Or paper...they ate paper too...

The shrine and it's immensely famous torii (gate) was a mere ten minute walk from the dock. Nick and I timed our arrival for around 11:30am which was the high-tide point; when the tide gets low you can walk all the way out to the torii but it's not quite as picturesque when the lower half is all mud-colored.

It was a huge tourist draw. There was one group of tourists with a selfie-stick that were all wearing "I Heart Miyajima" shirts and taking photos of themselves everywhere (so I took a photo of them):

The shrine itself is equally amazing: it sits above the water and is just a beautiful complex of orange pillars and wooden floors.

After wandering about the shrine and taking way too many photos of everything like the shameless tourists we were, Nick and I explored the rest of the island (not all of it--there's a mountain you can hike and and onsen which I'd LOVE to go back and see--they also light up the shrine and gate at night apparently). There was a random aquarium with lots of local sea life, such as oysters, and two massive, massive sea lions.

There were some lower-level nature trails as well, which we stumbled upon and took advantage of (that's the shrine from the top and a second, smaller pagoda tucked away amongst the trees).

But eventually the tide receded and Nick and I began retracing our steps (well, boat and train). But first we stopped in a small cafe where we sat next to another foreigner, a girl with blonde hair, who was working on her computer. Eventually she asked us where we were from (ah the bonding powers of English) and we found out that we ALL went to Yale. Katie is a rising senior architecture major in Calhoun who was in Japan for the summer doing research and interning. Go figure: small world galore.

The train rides back seemed twice as long as the ones there--particularly since they were twice as crowded. In both the bullet train and the Thunderbird there were tons of people standing in the aisles for hours (and that can't possibly be legal but that's the risk of purchasing an unreserved seat--sometimes there just aren't any). Nick and I were lucky and got to sit, if not next to each other, the majority of the time. And then it was back to Kanazawa and my host family. This was an amazing weekend trip and I definitely want to return to Hiroshima AND Miyajima to see what else they have to offer (and eat some more tempura!)


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