Friday, December 11, 2009

The Brighter Side of Hiroshima

Hiroshima was far from all doom and gloom. On our second and final full day there, Gail and Joe showed us some of the prettiest spots we'd seen throughout our entire trip.

First stop: Miyajima. After we got home, I read that Miyajima literally means "shrine-island," and no wonder. The island is famous throughout the country for the Itsukushima Shrine and the giant gate that are in the middle of the water during high tide and are surrounded by sand at low tide.

We took the ferry to the island, and Joe instructed us on where to stand for the best views and photos.

When we exited onto the island, I found out what else Miyajima is known for-- it's tame deer.

I got some more pictures of the gate at high tide, and then we went exploring. We walked through the shrine, ate (more Miyajima specialties-- oysters and a type of cream-filled cookie-cake in the shape of a maple leaf) and explored.

Paul, me, Gail and Joe

By then it was low tide. The water had nearly receded around the gate, so we climbed down a few steps and joined dozens of others to get a closer look.

Gail, Joe and Paul

On our way back to Gail and Joe's apartment, we made a stop a Mitaki, an absolutely beautiful temple and park. The leaves were changing, and it seemed to be full of surprises at every turn. Buddhas with red bibs and caps. Memorials to atomic bomb victims. Statues. Waterfalls. When it didn't feel like Japan, it almost felt like Tennessee.

Gail and Joe also introduced us to some great food. More about that -- and everything else we ate in Japan -- tomorrow.

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