Roy is an avid writer, aspiring diplomat, and inquisitive traveller. His articles mainly focus on examining world politics, exploring Japanese culture, and providing self-improvement tips for his readers. This post is an adapted version of the original article, which can be found at SOBABOY, Roy’s wordpress blog. To read more from Roy, you can follow SOBABOY here.
It’s been about 2 months into the summer holidays, and if you are student like me, I hope you’re either enjoying the break or taking up a part-time job/ internship. Many of my friends have visited various parts of Japan over the last few weeks, and I feel really excited about their amazing pictures on Facebook as they allowed me to bask in the incredible atmosphere of Hokkaido, Osaka, Tokyo, and many more.
Actually, I just arrived in Singapore about a week ago, after doing an internship in Hiroshima. It was a wonderfully opportune time to visit Hiroshima, I thought, given that President Obama made a ground-breaking state visit on May 27th. While the Hiroshima Peace Memorial is definitely an interesting topic to write about, today I want to share more about 5 awesome things you should do in the famous “Shrine Island” Miyajima, which is a 10 to 15 minute ferry ride away from Hiroshima!
1. Eat sumptuous street food, notably grilled/steamed oyster
There are many stalls that sell delicious street food in Miyajima, so leave some space in your stomach for that. Although there were other contenders, including an extremely tasty matcha ice cream that is a must-try for all green tea lovers, the most delicious food I came across in Miyajima is probably the steamed oyster. I had to queue for around 10 minutes just to buy a plate, which is about 440 yen (for 2 oysters). The famous dish’s taste was just so heavenly that it would be a perfect snack to have during the cold season!
2. Big Spoon
Apart from a mesmerising Tori gate that I will be focusing on in my next point, Miyajima is home to a famous spoon that is bigger than a human being. Apparently, this wooden scoop is known as a “shamoji”, and it is 7.7 meters long. Although I’m not too familiar with its history, this wooden scoop is the pride of many Miyajima residents. See if you can find it while wandering along the streets of Miyajima!
3. Making a wish at low tide
Miyajima has a famous Torii gate that exist in the seas. I am sure you have seen something like this before:
But the next time you hear someone telling you that, let them know that the Torii gate is actually reachable by foot! During periods of low tide, the water will recede enough for tourists to make their way excitedly to touch the gate or get a close-up view of it.
If you happen to be there at low tide, remember to bring along some spare change, so that you can make a wish! It is said that if you put a coin on the foot of the Torii gate and make a wish, your wish will come true as long as that coin remains even after the waters have returned. If you find such folklore unappealing, it still doesn’t hurt to stay for the low tide period, because you can take close-up selfies with the beautiful Torii gate!
4. Catch the beautiful sunset
As mentioned in the previous point, 1 thing extremely cool and unique about Miyajima is that you can venture into unknown boundaries as the tides change. As much as possible, you should make Miyajima a day-trip, because the scenery surrounding the Torii gate becomes tremendously pictureseque as the sun slowly dips beyond the hills. Many tourists, locals and foreigners alike, make their way to strategic spots early so that they can have a great glimpse of the ineffable sunset.
5. Play with the deer around Miyajima
Have you been to Nara? It’s located pretty close to Kyoto and is famed for housing the largest Buddha statue in the world and having an awesome deer park. If you are in Hiroshima for practical reasons and don’t have the time to travel much, you can still interact with deer in Miyajima! Deer are not as common in Miyajima, but you can still spot them pretty easily while walking along the streets.
Now that I have been to both places, I must say that the deer in Nara were more aggressive. Still, remember to exercise caution while interacting with the deer in Miyajima, because they may not hesitate to search for food in your bags if they are thoroughly famished (I have to add, though, that after spending more than half a day in Miyajima, I only saw 1 instance when a deer behaved in an unruly manner to a tourist. The frequency was much higher in Nara).
Do consider Miyajima in your plans if you are going to Japan! It’s the perfect place for travellers looking for some relaxation, enjoyment, and awesome food!