Saturday, 24 November 2012

Miyajima Island

After giving a talk and touring Hiroshi's labs at U. Hiroshima and a yummy udon noodle lunch, we took a drive over to the city itself and Miyajima Island that sits right offshore. Hiroshima is quite beautiful, with a setting right one the water with massive mountains all around. Descending into the city, I got the distinct impression of being back in Vancouver, which led me to thinking of what a horror it must have been to have the city obliterated.

The centre-piece of Miyajima is the Itsukushima Shinto shrine, another UNESCO site that I keep bumping into here in Japan. First built in 593 AD, it was rebuilt into its present scale in 1168 AD. The main corridor is about 280 m long, incorporating over 20 buildings. The main entry gate for the shrine is built right on the water's edge, so that the ebbing and flowing of the tides determine whether you can get near it. On the right is another family celebrating the 7-5-3 years. Didn't get to see anyone playing the massive drums, although I did hear them from afar.
I've got to say that fall is my favourite season, and it's not just because of cyclocross! I especially love the way the angle of the sun makes things just glow, like the shrine gates on the left and especially the red/golden pagoda on the right. Take a look on the left and tell me it doesn't remind you of Vancouver?!
The fall colours were getting very nice now in Japan! And oysters are a specialty and favourite around here. There's an oyster far between the island and the mainland, and the products are grilled all around at different kiosks.