Miyajima- The Jewel on My UNESCO Hit List

Life is not a race.

Unless you`re a Clampitt. Then what`s not a race is a competition. If there are no competitors, go up against yourself. I usually take on the inner voice that provides unwelcome running commentary on the day. The one that advises I use my rejected hair from “Locks of Love” for dirty dishpan scrubbing.

I am currently involved in a friendly competition, against myself, to see which one of us can visit the most Japanese UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of us is a cheater as she counts multiple visits to the same site. She`s the American. The Japanese version of myself, who plays by the book, Ouisar-san, has seen 12 of the 16 UNESCO sites. My American alter ego, Emily, has seen 46 of the 16. (Emily double or triple counts a single trip. Sometimes it`s for good reason and not just list padding. When the Nose visited she took so long going through each site Emily counted each as two visits. The Nose had to journal about each place. Then she transcribed even the most mundane of the minutia- the details of 8th century roof tile making techniques for example. And then she had to sketch it. Followed by a haiku composition. Then she choreographed an interpretive dance. It`s faster to circle the globe.)

The American version of myself runs through the shrines counting, throwing elbows at other tourists for the best picture taking position, cutting in the handicapped line, and knocking tiny elderly Japanese tourists out of the way with her overstuffed fanny pack. Ouisar- san reads all the signage and doesn`t take pictures if not allowed.

Ouisar-san allotted two and a half hours for Myajima. Emily carved out 30 minutes and forced skates on the other members of the party in an attempt to cut it down by 15. Officially known as Itsukushima Shrine, “Shrine Island.” Even people without an interest in Japan have seen pictures of it`s jaw dropping Tori gate entrance.

Imagine a bluer sky, redder tori gate, and more contrast on the mountains. Then it will be more awe inspiring.

Built in 1168, the entire island is a sacred location. In order to maintain its purity, no deaths or births are allowed within a certain distance from the shrine. I`m not sure how “sudden deaths” are managed so don`t plan one while visiting the shrine.

The floating shrine with views of Mt. Misen and the bay north of Hiroshima make for a photographer`s dream.Which marks me as a tourist. Mine were spruced up with Instagram proving Emily is a cheater.

Can you find me?

This bathtub gives both a soak and scrub at the same time.

The rickshaw driver fought valiantly attempting to outrun the picture snapping annoyance. The bride and groom ended up as blog fodder anyway.

I soon discovered they were running toward all the food stalls. The local specialties being grilled oysters with ponzu sauce… (Soy sauce, mirin, and lemon juice)

and these meat and seafood mish moshes on a stick.

The only ham in the building is not just wrapped around the stick. The cook is used to being photographed.

As in some other locations throughout Japan, sacred deer roam freely to check visitors` bags for explosives, illegal contraband, and edible grain. As over zealous airport TSA agents, they will rip your packages open and your clothes off.

Miyajima- it ranks near the top of our “Japan Must See” List. Ouisar-san and Emily agree it`s a must see.

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24 Responses to Miyajima- The Jewel on My UNESCO Hit List

  1. Oh, you’ve done it now, Emily. This was the MOST fabulous place I visited while in Japan, and I did visit many.
    Oh reason this was special was that I saw it with my Mom, the only person to visit me during the two years I lived in Japan. I wished at the time that we were staying on the island overnight. It was rushed, as I suppose yours was, too, with only 2.5 hours.
    I have these pictures. I loved seeing yours. Great memories of a beautiful place!
    Gonbatte’ kudasai! 🙂


    • Exactly! And it`s because of the ferry schedule. No one I know has really gone and enjoyed the full island so I didn`t really understand all there was. SO- I have to go back. I can understand why it`s special for you.


  2. Uh, that would be “One reason…”. Sometimes I don’t proofread and always regret it!


  3. Ann Marie Skalecki says:

    Hey! Love the photos! Michael and I went to Hiroshima and Miyajima just before we left. You captured some great photos!!

    How are you? Any ski trips planned?

    xo Ann Marie


  4. Oh, Emily, that photo of you with the fawn is precious. And that tub! A scrub, indeed. LOL However, my favorite line here is the one about “Emily” having seen 46 out of the 16 sites. I laughed out loud at that one.


  5. Abi says:

    I really enjoyed Miyajima, including being attacked by a deer and some delicious okonomiyaki. I also took the cable car up the mountain and enjoyed lovely views and some brilliant signs included directions to the cable car (10 mins walk, 7mins if run a little).


  6. luchessa says:

    Awesome post! Thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures with the world 🙂 That would be def a great place to visit and to get inspired!!


  7. kathrinjapan says:

    Just so you know, if you are doing the UNESCO list challenge, you need to visit Korea! They have more sites than Japan! Nice blog. Reminded me of my trip there. Let’s lunch soon!


  8. Tori Nelson says:

    Adding “Airport Deer Pat Down/ Lingering Hoof” to Bucket List right this minute 🙂


  9. That’s quite a frisking you’re getting there. I don’t think that deer knows you well enough.

    Loved your “Where’s Ouisar-san?” photo.


  10. Dana says:

    That looks incredible, minus the frisky deer bit. I don’t think I could handle being forcibly undressed by anything with four legs… (or two, for that matter. I prefer my clothes on and in tact, thank you very much!)


    • I got bit in the butt by one in Kyoto and it hurt like Hell. Left a huge bruise which lasted for about 3 weeks. It will one day be a blog post…. Complete with picture. Now there`s something to look forward to!


  11. Joe says:

    I love this place, I had the chance to visit a few years back, absolutely stunningly beautiful isn’t it. I am trying to get it out there as theres a lot of helpful info on it, check it out if you get a chance: http://www.joejapan.com


  12. geeday says:

    Reblogged this on Voicebox Of Naija.


  13. rimassolosailingaroundtheworldm says:

    Thank you for nice pictures.In 2013 of the May will be my voyage solo sailing around the world from Port Townsend,Washington to Japan-Kochi,more information on my blog,please stop to visit on my blog.Happy New Year!


  14. simonsundarajkeun says:

    Reblogged this on Simon Sundaraj-Keun.


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