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07(01), 05(01)

Wed, 14 Aug 2013
nostromo in hello kitty land again, day 11 (0 comments)
today's trip is a day trip from hiroshima to one of the most famous sights of japan (according to our guidebook), namely the floating torii on the island of miyajima, or, to be more precise, the floating torii of the itsukushima shrine on itsukushima island. don't get confused, people will simply just refer to it as "miyajima" ("shrine island"), and so will i. so we took the JR line followed by a ferry[02-07], to get to this island, where one can find ... some deer - but will it be tons of? we will see... ah, JR holders can take the JR ferry for free, as it's included in the pass - what a nice surprise.
well, what we found were only some deer[09,16,26,27,72-73], and loads of people[13,14,17,19] going to this popular place. to get to the "otorii"[03-06,12-15,22,28-34,77-78] ("grand torii gate") one has to walk along a beautiful promenade[08,13-27] at the seaside. and since it was very hotto again, we had a little break to drink some water and rest a little, when suddenly a deer[26-27] came along and tried to get some treats from nina's rucksack. a little grumpy, since we didn't have any, it went on. then we reached the end of the peer and had an excellent look on this 16 meter high wooden gate, that was erected in the 6th century, but this torii was rebuilt in 1875.
ah, by the way, it is forbidden to die on this island. also to give birth to a child. so pregnant women, elderly people, and terminal ill people should refrain from going to the island, as they might destroy the purity of this sacred place. in fact, it is so sacred, there's not even a graveyard on the island. right next to the floating gate is the floating shrine, the it-sukushima shrine[37] itself, also built on pillars, so that it seems to float too - of course only when there's the tide. lucky us we got there at the right time. but we did not enter the shrine itself, as there was massive queueing at the entrance. instead we went up a little hill one of japan's hokoku shrine, called senjokaku hall[38-51,53-58] - "hall of thousand tatami mats", as it has the size of ... you guessed it, one thousand tatami mats (by the way, if you book hotels, the room size is also given in tatami mat units). the shrine provided shadow, smooth wooden floors nina likes so much[41-42]. so we took a little break, just like some other visitors[41-42,47,49] did, practiced the art of power-napping, and enjoyed the wood carvings[40,44-45,47-49] and rice scoops[39,43] of all sizes. furthermore there's a five-storeyed pagoda[52,59-60] ("goju no to") right next to the big hall.
and now, time for some local specialities from the food assortment[10-11,61-63,65,69-71,74-75], as nina got hungry. so first we had some buns[62-63], then some leaf-shaped sweets filled with chocolate, vanilla pudding(?), red bean paste. a lot of shops offered those local specialities, all with a view into the automated factory[69], where they were filled and baked this soft biscuits, called "momiji manju". after that we tried some "fish cake"[71], as it looked so disgusting. but actually they taste totally awesome. nina had an asparagus and bacon, while i went for the crab fish cake. nina then tried a "squid stick"[75] - also very tasty.
and while we enjoyed our meal, another deer came along, demanding his share, which we did not want to give to him. soon we found out how to get rid of them, as they can get pretty pushy. just walk by some person that also has something to eat, and almost all deer stopped pursuing us - easy task, as almost everyone had something to eat. last sight was the biggest wooden rice scoop[64] in the world, located on the omotesando shopping street. this scoop weighs about 2.5 tons, is almost eight metres long, and it took almost three years to manufacture it. and we thought the scoops in the senjokaku hall were big ones. on our way home i was already looking forward to a foot massage that was offered in a shop right next to the entrance of our hotel. and as i did not go there the night before when we checked in, i really wanted to go there today. but, guess what, just today it was closed, although opening hours should be 11:00 to 21:00 o'clock, seven days a week - so why was it closed this day? ownoeeez, poor me *sniff* *sniff*. i really would have loved that now. damn it, so i will try to find it somewhere else, since i was really looking forward to that since our last holidays in taiwan, where they offered that on every corner.

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