Thursday, September 11, 2008

9/12/08 Miyajima

A short side trip took us to a small island near Hiroshima called Miyajima. We took a nice little ferry to get there. It was funny because it was a good size boat but we were virtually the only ones riding it. It must be subsidized somehow.

Tung practiced his street poses while we waited at the port.

The ferry approaches. It was named the Fast Beach in katakana. What the heck is that supposed to mean?

A bit of topographical texture from the boat's window.

One fun thing about the island is the deer that roam it. They are sort of wild, but have no fear of humans whatsoever. Miyajima's wikitravel page has a little paragraph about them here.

In the past, waffle-like wafers and pellets could be bought to feed to the deer. But at the end of 2007 the government introduced a feeding ban on the island. Because of this, the deer are not in a very good condition now and their numbers are declining.

It seems a bit cruel to abruptly stop feeding these animals. I imagine they had become quite dependent on tourists for food. It seems like gradually weening them off of people food would be much more humane. Bummer.

We had just got off the boat when we saw this group of deer gently harassing a family in front of the port. The deer have a comically broad diet. In the brief time I watched them, I witnessed two of them devour a map snatched from someone's pocket. Later I saw another chomp the tag off of a tourist's luggage. Gotta have that fiber one way or another, I suppose.

The Japanese must be the funniest sign writers in the world. "Welcome to Miyajima! We stopped feeding the deer. Now they eat children. Thank you."

The main reason people come to this place is not to have their pockets rummaged through by Bambi, however. The island is home to Itsukushima Shrine and its famous Floating Tori gate. The postcards show this giant red gate standing triumphantly in the sea. We came during the wrong season, or the wrong time of day though, because the only thing this gate was standing in was a bunch of smelly seaweed populated by crabs.

Due to my previously mentioned computer issues, this is the closest picture I seem to have of the gate. I think the red gate stands out quite nicely in its green swamp, don't you think?

Back on the mainland, I witnessed this awful display at a little shop located inside of a supermarket. They are apparently selling either seafood or nightmares.

Next up on my Japan travels: a castle. Oooh.


  1. I had deer at Miyajima and at Nara try to eat my purse last summer. But with their spots and small size, they reminded me of Bambi, so it was hard to be angry.

  2. Yeah, its hard not to feel sorry for something hungry enough to eat a newspaper.