Corey and Joanna had mentioned Miyajima many times over the past year, so we knew it was going to be something special. It would be our last outing, before a day of rest in preparation for the trip home.
The weather gods could not have been kinder, so off we went with the girls, in tow at times, in the lead other times. It is amazing to see 2 & 4-year-old girls navigate through such a touristy location, fearless and full of joy. And, the attention that two blonde American girls receive, in a country whose citizens are 99% dark haired. it was really special. Almost unnerving.
We caught the passenger ferry about 10 a.m., and spent a good part of the day on the island, splitting our time between the shrine and Mt. Misen.
With the approaching week of Japanese holidays, we ran into the first real crowds of the entire trip, but in some ways that made it more interesting as we were exposed to a diversity of Japanese and touristy culture. In the photo below, there was a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony taking place. Also, notice that when the tide goes out the entire place turns dry. Many, many times we were stopped, as young and old alike wanted to see, talk and hug the girls. I saw many people doing 360's as the girls walked by them. They would want to touch their hair and get a closer look at their skin and eyes.
Miyajima Island, one of the most scenic spots in Japan, has long been regarded as an Island of Gods on the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. It is a romantic and historical island where Itsukushima Shrine, a World Heritage site, is located, along with the Virgin Forest of Mt. Misen, and numerous preserved shrines, temples and historical monuments.
The Floating Shrine on the Sea
The shrine has more than 1400 years of history, and is a registered World Heritage Site. The vermillion lacquered shrine, located at the beautiful Itsukushima, fits well with the Prussian blue sea, and the green of the virgin forest, recreating the elegance of the Heian era. Many visitors from all around the world continue to visit.
A Mountain with Legends and Miracles
Misen is located in the center of Miyajima. After Kukai (Kobodaishi) discovered it in the autumn of 806, Misen became a spiritual and holy site. There are many historical monuments in Misen because great historical figures, such as Kiyomori Taira and Hirobumi Ito shared a deep belief in it.
Mount Misen Video
Reikado Hall (Eternal Fire Hall)
Kiezu no Hi (the eternal flame), the holy fire which Kobo Daishi used as part of his religious training is burning even now after about 1200 years in Reikado Hall.
It is said that the holy water boiled by this fire works for hall sort of disease. It was also used as the pilot light for the “Flame of Peace” of Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.