Tyler Creed and Mitchell Hrovat
How pretty art thee today
Big tanuki balls
Today we traveled to Miyajima island. Having been there once before, Tyler longed to return, Mitch longed to know what was worth returning for.
We began by taking a ferry to Miyajima Island. Our tour of the island started at the Itsukushima Shrine; the one with the world-famous floating torii gate. The shrine was floating today, but only barely. We arrived just before low tide and the torii gate was on the beach.
Like in Nara there were deer along the sides of the road, but these deer are a little more wild. They don’t bow, but they sure do love a heap of assorted leaves.
We walked through the Itsukushima Shrine and witnessed the proceedings of a traditional wedding. Though the tide was out, the shrine was still quite beautiful and awe inspiring.
once we exited on the far side of the shrine, we climbed up the hill to the rope-way to the top of the mountains. the trip took two stops and was full of truly “smallifying” views. At the top the group disbanded with the goal of meeting up at the ferry port.
At this point some students trekked to the top of Mt. Misen. Along the way there were many small statues with rocks piled up around them. The steps curved up, down, over, and under between two peaks. The climb was steep but the temples and the views were well worth it.
Other students went shopping and/or to shrines (the island is full of both).
Many of the shops had tanuki. Tanuki is often translated as “raccoon-dog” which is an accurate description. These creatures are in Hayao Miyazaki’s film Pom Poko. They are indigenous to Japan and well-known for swinging their testicles at others as an attack. Tanuki are also often associated with drinking and can be found outside bars.
To the opposite side of the island (from the rope-way) there is a staircase with scrolls which can be turned as you walk up. It was believed that touching the scrolls as you walk up the staircase gave you all the same benefits that reading would, only quicker.
Up the mountain, hidden behind all the shrines and under part of the stair-case, lies one of the most beautiful shrines to be seen. About 900 lanterns are aligned in a grid along the ceiling. Statues of deities of every sort are arranged from small to big with several flames alight and two large deities on either side of the center.
Giant rice paddle
Deer lounge despite the people
Rope way, torii gate.