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Miyajima perfectly combines nature with Japanese culture

The Itsukushima shrine is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions; it's noted for its dramatic floating gate, or torii, on the outskirts of the shrine

The Itsukushima shrine is one of Japan's most popular tourist attractions; it's noted for its dramatic floating gate, or torii, on the outskirts of the shrine

Lining the steps to Daishoin Temple are 500  rakan statues, each with a unique facial expression; each statue represents a Buddhist monk who was an actual disciple of Shaka (Buddha)

Lining the steps to Daishoin Temple are 500+ rakan statues, each with a unique facial expression; each statue represents a Buddhist monk who was an actual disciple of Shaka (Buddha)

The Five-storied Pagoda was originally constructed in 1407, and restored in 1533;  the main deity enshrined here is the Buddha of Medicine

The Five-storied Pagoda was originally constructed in 1407, and restored in 1533; the main deity enshrined here is the Buddha of Medicine

The tame deer on Miyajima are famous and do their best to ignore all of the crazy tourists; we were lucky to see the torii gate here since it is now undergoing a lengthy restoration

The tame deer on Miyajima are famous and do their best to ignore all of the crazy tourists; we were lucky to see the torii gate here since it is now undergoing a lengthy restoration

The main street featured lots of gift shops and eateries; the crowds may look overwhelming but the ferry line moved quickly and it was easy to escape the masses by heading away from Itsukushima Shrine

The main street featured lots of gift shops and eateries; the crowds may look overwhelming but the ferry line moved quickly and it was easy to escape the masses by heading away from Itsukushima Shrine

This was my favorite jizo statue on Miyajima!; the practice of dressing Jizo statues is related to accruing merit for the afterlife, a common theme in Buddhism

This was my favorite jizo statue on Miyajima!; the practice of dressing Jizo statues is related to accruing merit for the afterlife, a common theme in Buddhism

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 was also used as the pilot light for the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

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 was also used as the pilot light for the Flame of Peace in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park

Daisho-in Temple is famous for maple trees and their autumn colors; there is a flame here which is said to have been burning since its foundation 1200  years ago

Daisho-in Temple is famous for maple trees and their autumn colors; there is a flame here which is said to have been burning since its foundation 1200+ years ago

Miyajima is considered one of Japan's three most scenic spots; one of the island's delicacies is broiled conger eel on top of rice (yum!)

Miyajima is considered one of Japan's three most scenic spots; one of the island's delicacies is broiled conger eel on top of rice (yum!)

After hiking to the top of Mt. Misen, this beach sure looked inviting!; the hike up the 550 m mountain was a great escape from the crowds down at sea level

After hiking to the top of Mt. Misen, this beach sure looked inviting!; the hike up the 550 m mountain was a great escape from the crowds down at sea level

These small clay buddhas have been left as offerings at the main hall atop Mt.Misen; pretty much everyone we passed on the hike enthusiastically said konnichiwa (hello, in Japanese) to us

These small clay buddhas have been left as offerings at the main hall atop Mt.Misen; pretty much everyone we passed on the hike enthusiastically said konnichiwa (hello, in Japanese) to us

Daishoin is the most distinguished temple on Miyajima Island; countless worshipers come and pray asking for contentment in their daily lives, good health and longevity

Daishoin is the most distinguished temple on Miyajima Island; countless worshipers come and pray asking for contentment in their daily lives, good health and longevity

Taira no Kiyomori statue; he established the first samurai-dominated administrative government in the history of Japan in the 1100s

Taira no Kiyomori statue; he established the first samurai-dominated administrative government in the history of Japan in the 1100s

Miyajima Island is just a 10 minute ferry ride across Hiroshima Bay; there are about 2000 people that live on the 12 sq mile island

Miyajima Island is just a 10 minute ferry ride across Hiroshima Bay; there are about 2000 people that live on the 12 sq mile island

Daisho-in Temple lies at the foot of Mt. Misen; the day trip to Miyajima was one of the highlights of my Japanese tour

Daisho-in Temple lies at the foot of Mt. Misen; the day trip to Miyajima was one of the highlights of my Japanese tour

The boulders on top of Mt. Misen add to the mountain's mysticism; the hike up took about 90 minutes while those on the tour taking the cable car arrived about the same time due to the long line

The boulders on top of Mt. Misen add to the mountain's mysticism; the hike up took about 90 minutes while those on the tour taking the cable car arrived about the same time due to the long line

Itsukushima Shrine was first built in the latter half of the sixth century; it is a revered site in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Itsukushima Shrine was first built in the latter half of the sixth century; it is a revered site in Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Miyajima's maple trees are renowned throughout Japan and blanket the island in crimson in the autumn; because the island is seen as sacred, trees may not be cut for lumber

Miyajima's maple trees are renowned throughout Japan and blanket the island in crimson in the autumn; because the island is seen as sacred, trees may not be cut for lumber

The island of Miyajima itself is considered to be a god by Buddhists, which is why the Itsukushima Shrine was built on the outskirts of the island; the large tidal range allowed visitors to walk out to the so-called floating torii gate

The island of Miyajima itself is considered to be a god by Buddhists, which is why the Itsukushima Shrine was built on the outskirts of the island; the large tidal range allowed visitors to walk out to the so-called floating torii gate

There are traditional Japanese inns on the island so I'd recommend spending a night on the island and being first to visit Itsukushima Shrine when it opens at 6am

There are traditional Japanese inns on the island so I'd recommend spending a night on the island and being first to visit Itsukushima Shrine when it opens at 6am

Miyajima's specialty is oysters with the annual oyster festival the second weekend of February; there are a myriad of other festivals scattered across the calendar including a big fireworks show in August

Miyajima's specialty is oysters with the annual oyster festival the second weekend of February; there are a myriad of other festivals scattered across the calendar including a big fireworks show in August

Posted by VagabondCowboy 21:41

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