Prayers for Japan (Miyajima)

 (Torii Gate)

Our trip to Japan was a well organized one. We made use of the week long October holidays in China (we were then staying in Shanghai, China) and started enquiring about the flight connectivities to the land of the rising sun. Very surprisingly, we found that even though our then home country China and Japan did not share a very cordial political relation, there were regular, direct flights from Shanghai to the capital city of Japan, Tokyo.

Off we went for a date with Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Nikko, Hiroshima, the Hondas, Toyotas & the Sonys & Panasonics of the World.

Japan, as a nation is just beautiful. Hi tech affairs are a child’s play in this nation and we realized it more when we covered a distance of 900 kms to Hiroshima & Miyajima by Japan’s famed ‘Bullet Train’ in less than four hours flat…phew!! 

Miyajima is accessible by ferry from the port in Hiroshima and we took a tram to reach the port. The city is one of the most stylish cities in the World that I have seen and anyone who does not know a word about the WWII atom bomb incident, wouldn’t be able to guess how this city was destroyed during those years.

A 10 minutes ride on the ferry and we could see the famous Torii gate of Miyajima. Once we landed on the bay, the scene was beautiful; the cherry blossoms, the pagoda and the Torii gate. Miyajima is known worldwide for its famous Itsukushima shrine. This is very special shrine as it stands on the stilts above the water and the entire setting is just lovely. When the tide is high, the Torii gate and the shrine appears to be floating and the deep red colored shrine with a blue sky and the sea as background looked truly unique.

(Itsukushima Shrine)

(Inside the Shrine)

The shrine complex consists of multiple buildings, including a prayer hall, main hall and a theater with stage, which are connected to each other by boardwalks and are all supported by pillars above the sea. We did our share of praying in the shrine and went ahead to see the other attractions that the city had to offer.

 The island’s highest peak, Mount Misen is also there and we took a cable car that would take us on the peak. The sweeping vista from above the peak was mind blowing. As we walked around the top of Mount Misen, we did climb number of steps here and there and came across the Reika-do Hall. The hall has the eternal flame lit by Kobo Daishi. He was a monk who is in eternal meditation in Koyasan and the flame has been has been burning ever since it had been lit by him. Interestingly, this is the main flame from which the one at Hiroshima’s peace memorial park had been lit.

(Kobo Daishi Flame)

Offering our prayers there too, we came down to the city. By that time the tide had gone down and the entire area was muddy. But people were moving around there looking for shell fish that had stayed back in the mud. We too rolled up our trousers and walked on the mud to touch and walk through the Torii gate, it is supposed to bring good luck!

Next, it was time to go around the city to feel it. The stalls sold the famous maple leaf shaped waffles and how those were made. The waffles had variety of fillings and simply tasted yum. Another thing that we were surprised to see was a wooden spatula; supposed to the World’s largest rice spoon…huge it was and looked nice.

(World's largest rice spoon)

Next, we were scheduled to visit the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima. Japan was destroyed by this WWII incident and now once again it’s the recent Earthquake and the devastating Tsunami. Our prayers are with this beautiful country in the World and we all hope that the country will revive and shine once again, like it did after August 6th, 1945.

(Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park)