On my second day in Hiroshima I decided to visit the island of Miya-jima, just off the western coast. Miya-jima is believed to be one of the most beautiful places in Japan and is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine with it's huge vermillion gate which rises out of the sea. It really is an incredible sight.
The Itsukushima Shrine was first built in the sixth century and was remodelled by Taira-no-Kiyomori in 1168. The shrine itself is very beautiful and stretches out into the sea. In 1996 is also became a World Heritage Site. Whilst I was at the shrine I was also very lucky as I got to see a traditional Shinto wedding, a picture of which you can see here.
Seafood is also very popular on the island. Once the tide has gone out lots of people go out onto the beach to collect shellfish.
There are also lots of wild deer on the island, which are very tame. If you want to you can even feed them. You can see a picture of me feeding them here.
The island is also famous for its wooden rice scoops, which are a good luck charm.
It's a great place to go and the island very peaceful. The scenery is wonderful and there's the opportunity for plenty of climbing or just lazing around on the beach if you want.
When I was in Hiroshima I met lots of people and I had a great time. One night I ended up drinking a bit too much and afterwards I couldn't get into my guesthouse as I'd missed the curfew.
I then decided to get a taxi to a cheap hotel, but unfortunately this was also closed. Feeling very drunk and tired, I then went to the first hotel that I came across. It was only when I opened the door of my room that I realised where I was.
Completely by accident, I'd ended up in a love hotel.
The room had a very big gothic vibe to it. It was painted in a very dark red with a huge chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. At the head of the bed on a tissue box was a condom and there was also a local guide, with numerous photos and phonenumbers of women in it, if I required some company for my night's stay. There were also some channels on the TV, that I'm unable to get in Tokyo.
It was another very interesting experience, although I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that the bed didn't vibrate. I've spoken to a number of Japanese since who have all found it highly amusing that I spent the night on my own. If you're interested in love hotels there's a good link here.
Hiroshima is also famous for its okonami-yaki and it's said to be the best in Japan. Okonomi-yaki is like a pancake with meat and vegetables and is extremely delicious. Hiroshima okonami-yaki is different the rest of Japan as it has noodles(soba) in it.
You can see a picture of an okonami-yaki restaurant here.
The official website for Miya-jima is here.
You can see all of the photos here.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Posted by steve at 4:19 p.m.