Well. it finally rained on my parade!!

Trip Start May 19, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2012

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Flag of Japan  , Chugoku,
Friday, May 25, 2012

Woke up to the  grey skies and fine misty rain ..just because it was a trip to Miyajima  Island for the day?  Miyajima is a 40 minute train ride south east of Hiroshima. It has been classified as one of the most scenic places in Japan..it's 1600 plus cherry blossom and over 200 maple trees might help that fact!... and is also considered a holy place for most of Japanese history. In 806 AD, the monk Kōbō Daishi climbed Mt. Misen and established the mountain as a site for the Shingon sect of Buddhism.Miyajima is also Japanese for Shrine Island.. there are actually eight shrines, temples or pagodas in the main "tourisr" areas to admire... One Pagoda ..the Senjokaku is 5 stories or 28 metres high (circa 1407 )whle the smaller  theTahoto(circa 1523) is only 15.6 metres high..
The most famous is the Itsukushima Shrine & it's O-Torii (Grand Gate) which stands majestically in the sea( the current gate was constructed in 1875.. but is now under restoration due to typhoon damage recieved in April 2012).. No visit to Hiroshima is complete without viewing icon!!
Wild deer. or Japanese spotted deer, of which some are not soo wild .. roam the streets and foreshore amongst the tourists in search of a free food handout.. some have been known to snatch cloth or paper from unsuspecting tourists.. many  are quite content to stand, be patted and be photographed .Feeding them has been banned.. an issue of contention periodically.
Restaurants abound in the narrow streets.. from little "home run" to speciality seafood.. grilled oyster (in the half shell) to the famous grilled "conger eel" served on rice...or other traditional japanese fare.
For the sweet tooth ,the Momiji-Manju.. or Maple shaped cake is a must try.. originally filled with only red bean paste , it is now filled with custard, chocolate, apple  and more flavours to satisfy all palates...You can see the cakes being made , baked, packed  and sold in many of the stores..
 The sheer number of souvenir shops is mind-boggling. For the most part, they all sell the same things for the same prices — rice scoops, miniature floating torii's, and souvenir boxes of sweets are by far the most common items. (Even Hello Kitty has her own Miyajima-themed shop)
 Unfortunately the rain did not clear so the views were very limited but on clear days a trip up the mountain on the Miyajima ropeway car, a visit to Momijidani Park.. where deers are actually wild animals..or to the Aquarium would be a treat. A couple of days spent here would be the best way to enjoy all this World Heritage / Cultural site...

Leaving this damp spot behind it is back to Hiroshima to visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum..it is a solemn but poignant collection of photos, film clips, documentation etc.. so very well exhibited and explained.. to remind the visitor of the horror of nuclear war .. one exits the museum with a greater wish for World Peace....
I will leave Hiroshima tomorrow wiser and in awe of what it has suffered and rebuilt in the last 67 years.. what a modern, wonderful, happy city it is now...
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