Temple island

Trip Start Dec 30, 2006
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Trip End Jul 27, 2007


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Flag of Japan  ,
Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Miyajima took about an hour to get to from Hiroshima, via tram, train and boat.  It was a nice day trip but I had terrible timing, it turned out.  According to the tourist map of the island I received when I arrived, the island is one of Japans top three scenic sites.  Although that WAS a map given out by the tourist board so I'm not sure how impartial they would be on that.  Truth be told though, the views where pretty sweet.  I imagine the views from the top of the hills are amazing too but, due to circumstances beyond my control, I never saw them.

The island is probably most famously known for the Itsukushima Shrine that straddles the bay and the large temple gate at the mouth of the same bay.  The gate, especially, is featured in many iconic images of Japan.  Unfortunately, due to terrible timing on my behalf, I arrived there in the afternoon during low tide.  The temple and gate just don't have that same iconic feel when there is no water around them.

Still, it was impressive.  Especially when you consider the temple was built in 593 AD.  There are a couple of temples at the top of the mountain on the island but when I was there the cable cars where being repaired and I just did not feel like doing the ninety minute walk to the top but I imagine the views are pretty impressive up there too.

I have been told the island is also known as temple island due to the large number of temples around the island and I was able to check out a few others besides the Itsukushima Temple.  They were all nice but I think not as nice as Itsukushima.  Besides the many temples and mountains the island has wild deer.  The most docile wild deer I have ever seen in my life.  It seemed like a sweet place to hang out for a day or two.  Especially if you like to chill out with some relaxed deer.

I actually popped in again about a week later on my way back from Hamada and made it rather early in the morning but, again, got there after the high tide, which I found out had occurred around 7am on that day.  I decided not to stick around until 8pm when it would come around again and figured it was fate that I wouldn't see the temple and gate with water surrounding them.
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