Miyajima (宮島)

As a second part of the Hiroshima trip, i went to Miyajima with Haruka-chan and 2 of Yoko’s friends. This is the second time i have gone to Miyajima and so i tried to explore the places there that i have not went to during my first trip. Well, anyway in case you’re curious, my first trip to Miyajima was during my university homestay program.😀

Ferry terminal at Miyajima station
Ferry terminal at Miyajima station

Here it is! The ferry terminal at Miyajima station where hoards of tourists board the ferry excitedly. Here we gooooooooooo!!!

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Some fun shots on the ferry:

Beaming Haruka-chan
Beaming Haruka-chan
Melissa (back, left), Yamasaki-san (back, right) & Haruka
Melissa (back, left), Yamasaki-san (back, right) & Haruka

Oh did i mention that Miyajima has a lot of deers?

"Deer......!"
“Deer……!”
(Touch)(Screams)
(Touch)(Screams)
(Deer ignores)
(Deer ignores)

After touching the deers, Haruka-chan discovered the RAILINGS.

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Yes, i capped the word because it played a huge role in this entire trip. Haruka basically climbed, clinged on to, clutched, jumped off EVERY single railing in our path. No kidding. You can imagine how i felt while taking care of this child when the mother was not around.

Finally it’s snack time!!!

Fried Momiji Manju "揚げもみじ饅頭”
Fried Momiji Manju “揚げもみじ饅頭”

Momiji (紅葉) refers to the red maple leaves of autumn. Fried momiji manju is really famous here because Momiji is the symbolic icon for Hiroshima. The most common flavour for the manju is red bean but you can find a whole lot of other flavours! If you’re afraid of weight-gain like me, try the non-fried ones.

Hot steaming meat-filled buns
Hot steaming meat-filled buns

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I walked past this shop with steaming hot buns and it got me really hungry!! So i got one. Haha

The one you see in the picture is anago bun. Anago is similar to eel but it’s much cheaper than eel (unagi). It’s really good!!

Here’s a pretty picture of the shores of Miyajima. You can tell the weather was really good.

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Groups of tourists taking picture in front of the Torii (鳥居) of Miyajima. The torii is a gate that is found commonly at the entrance and inside of Shinto shrines. The tide was low at the time so people went really close to the torii for photo-taking!

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Anyway, Miyajima is a HOTSPOT for traditional japanese weddings.

Traditional japanese wedding
Traditional japanese wedding

I hope you could spot the bride in white! Sorry this is the only photo i have because i was too far away.

Next i went to this temple that is famous for its size of 1000 tatami. To help you better understand how spacious this place is, 6 tatami is the average size of a room you can get in Tokyo for the cheapest rent you can find.

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interior of the temple (in awe)
interior of the temple (in awe)
Haruka-chan playing 'peek-a-boo' with the priest
Haruka-chan playing ‘peek-a-boo’ with the priest

Amazing view at the temple.

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I was pretty delighted to have found some remains of spring cherry blossoms here! (i missed the cherry blossom season entirely when i touched down in Japan)

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Nah, the red and pink ones below are not cherry blossoms.. The pink one is Tsubaki 椿(remember the shampoo brand? yea, that’s the one) and the red ones are roses.

We walked a lot then and i told Melissa that i would like to eat the best momiji manju here and so she brought me to this place!

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The momiji manju was freshly baked (i saw it with my own eyes) and when i ate it it was still warm! By the way, you are able to choose 2 kinds here, one with tsubu-an (つぶあん) and koshi-an (こしあん). The former is mashed red bean paste and the latter is not-so-mashed-up red bean paste. Essentially they are the same but the texture of the filling is different. I chose ‘tsubu-an’ in the end!

Seriously, they are the best momiji manju i have ever eaten. (I have eaten a lot so i mean it.)

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Next, we are headed to Daishoin (大聖院).

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Haruka raced me to the entrance….!

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This isn’t the entrance. Haha. This is the WAY TO THE ENTRANCE.

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Just looking at it makes me feel like i could lose a few kilos over this.

Once you finished the stairs, you are greeted by this…!

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Numerous buddha statues lined the path. You can find easily find 5 yen placed at the foot of some of the statues. Japanese people like to throw 5 yen as a wishing coin because it sounds similar to “ご縁” which essentially means good fortune.

The funny thing is, i found this!

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Haruka-chan sits on the Anpan-man she ONCED LOVED
Haruka-chan sits on the Anpan-man she ONCED LOVED
Bell swinging
Bell swinging

Actually you’re not supposed to sound the bell too many times but Haruka-chan got really excited over it and she did it over and over again. Haha

Once, we’re done with the statues, we were approached by a person who told us that a mini recital is going on inside the temple.

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A koto performance with flute accompaniment. As a former guzheng player, i was really impressed by their skills!!
But i couldn’t watch this till the end because halfway through, Haruka-chan wanted to sit on my lap and then i just fell back and i couldn’t get back up afterwards. I can only vaguely remember how i ‘crawled’ out of this part of the temple because Haruka refused to get off me. (Sigh, i’m just too likeable.)
By then, we created a lot of noise and i can’t bear to disturb the performance so i decided to leave and bring Haruka to play outside.

Outside, there was a huge signboard that showed the lunar birth dates corresponding to the 12 zodiac. I roughly expected my luck this year (which was quite bad for Snake) so i just brush it off since it’s so generic. Haha

Since we didn’t really have lunch, all we ate were snacks, we decided to go for Okonomiyaki. But, halfway through we passed by a souvenir shop that sell toys and you know what you can expect when you have small children beside you.

"I want this mobile phone!"
“I want this mobile phone!”

Armed with less than 2000 yen in her Hello Kitty coin purse around her neck, Haruka-chan refuses to budge until she buys the ‘mobile phone’. It’s really expensive and it’s not a real phone anyway so i had to stop her before she goes bankrupt on this. I managed to lure her out of the shop with ‘There’s a really nice kakigori (crushed ice) shop next door… shall we go?” (blink, blink)

Phew, i wiped off my sweat after we left the shop!

Finally some nice okonomiyaki for lunch!!

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Hiroshima style okonomiyaki
Hiroshima style okonomiyaki

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I really like Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. There’s also Osaka style but i think i prefer the Hiroshima style one because of the layers! Here’s the difference between the 2 styles as explained by the author of the website.

After we left Miyajima, i met up with my host, Yoko and i was pleasantly surprised when Haruka bought me a gift!!

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It’s a cheese momiji manju and i was sooooo touched because when i saw her buying it, i thought she got it for herself and her mother. She bought 3 and she gave me one! What a selfless little girl! By the way, this is by far the best momiji manju i have ever tasted. Probably better than the one i mentioned earlier.

On the way back to Okayama, Yoko told me that there is a place that sells momiji soft cream. (HOW SPECIAL IS THAT?!)

It isn’t cheap but i caved in to temptation. >.<

Momiji manju soft cream
Momiji manju soft cream

Next time if you’re intending to visit Hiroshima, be sure to go to Miyajima!

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