Miyajima, Hiroshima Dec.1 – 2, 2023

Itsukushima Shrine, Inland sea and Anago Meshi

I wanted to return Itsukushima Shrine Omamori talismans which my mom had bought for me when she had visited the shrine long time ago. You can return them to any shrine in your neighborhood. But I thought I should return to the shrine. Plus, I wanted to see the Setonaikai inland sea from the mountain in the island and eat Anago Meshi, Grilled Conger eel on rice . Those are my main reasons to visit the island this time.

I hopped on the Shinkansen train at Shin-Yokohama station at 17:10 after having dinner at Soba noodle restaurant in the station building. It was the trip of about 4hours to Hiroshima. It was nearly 23 o’clock when I arrived at Hiroshima station. I stayed at the hotel within a walking distance near the station. As soon as I bathed in a large public bath on the top floor to warm my body, I went to sleep in the room cause I had to start early in the following morning.

I had a breakfast at Komeda Coffee shop in the hotel at 06:30. I ordered “Morning Nagoya style” a set menu of coffee, a toast with sweet Azuki beans and a cup of soup. (The shop is operated by a company originally from Nagoya. Toast with sweet Azuki beans looks a popular in Nagoya.) I filled my stomach and I left the hotel for Miyajima at 07:30.

It was a Saturday morning. The station was not crowded with commuters. It left Hiroshima at 8:05 and arrived at Miyajima-guchi station at 8:44. The ferry terminal was just five minutes by walk. The terminal was crowded with many tourists waiting for the ferry to the island.

Many come to visit the island to pray at the shrine or sightsee the unique shrine and its Torii gate on the water. It was just ten minutes to the island. I spent watching the view of the island on the beautiful and calm water. Especially Autumn is the high season with tourists who come to see autumn foliage. It is bustled with tourists anywhere in the island during the season. It would be nice to see the island painted by autumn leaves. However, it would be painful for me after three years of social distance practice. I chose this early December. I was not able to see autumn foliage this time but I was able to relax and enjoyed walking around.

I headed straight to the ropeway station after I got off the ferry boat. To go to see Inland sea from the mountain, you need to ride a ropeway about 10 minutes and change at Kayatani station to take another one for another five minutes. For person of acrophobia like me , it is excruciating experience. It turned out to be rewarding when I saw the beautiful view spread out before my eyes from the Shishiiwa outlook. The air was clean and clear. The water was shining under the soft sunlight. It is as silent as you could hear a pin drop.  

My list: See Inland sea from Misen Mountain….Check✔

View of inland sea

It was almost 12 o’clock when I returned to the shrine approach where shops and restaurants are gathered. I entered a restaurant Mame Tanuki, or little racoon, which serves Anago meshi , grilled conger eel on rice, a delicacy of this area. Grilled Anago is popular style. This restaurant serve steamed one. Seasoned with sweet soy sauce, I enjoyed Anago with soft texture very much. It was around 2,300 yen. It is tourist spot price. I accepted it as I could not have such an occasion so often. So my list: Eat Anago meshi….. Check ✔

Lunch of Anago meshi at Miyajima

I walked to Itsukushima Shrine through the main approach. I was welcomed by deer near the shrine. By the religion, they are believed to be messengers of the Shinto gods. They have been protected in the island.

When I entered the shrine, there was a ceremony called “Shichi-go-san” , Seven-five-three, a ceremony to cerebrate kids of three, five and seven in ages for their growing up. Also there are Sake Daru, Sake in barrel on display on the corridors. They are donated by businesses or individuals. I just wondered how they consume afterwards. Maybe a silly question only made by alcoholic guy like me. The shrine is built above the water. The island is considered a sacred place for the religion. So they built the building not to disturb the gods. I heard they need to repair the shrine frequently because of corrosion from the sea water. The island is located in calm inland sea which many ships criss-cross. It was geopolitically important place from the old age. I understand Tairano Kiyomori, who is from the powerful family related to the emperor, wanted to show off his power by building such shrine.

I had no chance to return the talisman. I shall put it in my bucket list: Return the talismans.