We took the train from the restaurant in Hiroshima about a half hour outside of the city to a port, and then crossed on a ferry to Miyajima island.
Most temples in Japan are structures, but Miyajima is different. In this case, the whole island is considered a temple. There's a temple on the island too, but in this case the island is the temple, as is the water surrounding it, so all must be treated with care (but we can, thankfully, wear our own shoes while in this temple!).
Another interesting thing about this island is it's paper-eating inhabitants: deer. Very friendly, very adorable, very aggressive deer. Arriving on the island, each person is given a map of the island. Occasionally people drop these maps and the deer will eat them. In fact, the deer will often go after the maps while people are still holding them!
We wandered through the winding roads of the temple-city and eventually arrived at the main temple on the island, right near the floating Torii gate. Now, to call it "floating" is a bit incorrect. It sits on the beach of the island and during high-tide the water rises up and gives it an illusion of floating. But during low-tide, like when we went there, the water was draining away from it and slowly the gate was more and more revealed.
Also then, of course, the temple wasn't floating either, and pools of water, moss and crustaceans could be seen in the mud below and around the temple.
In this temple there there was a fortune telling machine. To use it, you pick up a wooden tube and shake it, then put it on an angle and have a piece of wood slide out with a letter and a number on it. You then take that to a cabinet and pull out the drawer with your number and letter on it, and take out your piece of paper. I got my fortune, but had no idea what is said because it was all in Japanase!
I showed it to our tour guide, who is generally very level headed. Upon looking at it her face darkened and said "Oh no. Very bad. I don't know why so many of you are getting these." I wanted a second opinion so Luke and I went and found two young Japanese girls to help translate it. I showed it to them and they paused, laughed and pointed down as if to say "bad". By now I wanted a detailed answer, so I went back to our tour guide and this is what she said:
We had a few hours to enjoy the temple before we had to go, and I spent it on the shore after my camera died from using it too much in Hiroshima. After a while I met up with some other people on my tour and joined them on the way back to the ferry. We took it back to the mainland, then took the train back to Hiroshima, and went to our hotel to clean up before supper. It was during supper I realized that they do not sell milk at restaurants in Japan. I'm used to milk in North America, so I found this very strange and it was the topic of discussion for supper.
I am writing this the next day while on the train to Kyoto, so I apologize if it seems rushed.
Until next time.
And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.