Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An unexpected seaside mission

I wasn't planning a trip to Miyajima, a tiny island off the coast of Hiroshima, but as the tram drew closer to the port I felt I had no choice but to hop off and onto a waiting boat.  Very 007 of me. 
It was around midday by the time I had taken the 1.5 hour Shinkansen trip from Kobe so I grabbed an oyster croquette and a Chikuwa (fish paste wrapped around a stick) - for the lengthy 7 minute ride over to the island, god forbid I should starve during the journey. I chose Tako-negi (octopus and spring onion) which was surprisingly good but the selection above included asparagus and bacon, potato and bacon, cheese and bacon ( there's a theme here), crab, squid, oyster, burdock, red onion and shiso, prawn, or fish roe..  highly recommended street food. This stand is just in front of the ferry entrance but there are plenty more vendors once you reach the other side 
The Itsukushima jinja (shrine) is said to appear to "float on the water"... in high tide that is. Clearly my timing was a little off but fortunately I had previously experienced it in all its glory so it was a good opportunity to watch both kids and adults excitedly playing on the recently revealed sandbank.
And yes, there are sacred deer roaming the island but they are clearly so over the tourists that they mostly ignore them or arrogantly nudge their pockets looking for a snack - cash or cigarettes, I am not quite sure which. They honestly appeared so damn bored and depressed I felt like putting them out of their misery.  One woman spent about 10 minutes cajoling this fella to simply look in her direction and I am pretty sure he gave her the bird before yawning and resuming his gravel gazing.  Last time I was here, about 10 years ago, they were happy, wide-eyed little deer wishing to play.... awwww... Time, and too many tourists, will take its toll on all of us. 
Souvenirs are always in plentiful supply around large shrine or temple areas in Japan and fortunately foodie items feature heavily. There are also a plethora of places to eat - can you guess what local specialty is in season right now?
OK, if you didn't guess oysters you do not get to pass go, do not collect 20,000 yen. Freshly shucked, grilled over a hibachi, musubi (onigiri), au gratin - or go for the set lunch above including kaki furai ( crumbed and deep fried) and sunomono (fresh with vinegar dressing).
And it did. Take home a pack of Anago-man (conger eel steamed buns) or stop and try one on the spot - they were light as a feather with a filling of delicious anago in a slightly spicy ginger sauce.  Or try another chikuwa perhaps?

Of course Okonomiyaki is a staple in Hiroshima and on Miyajima you can find them filled with, yep you guessed it - oysters or ... chikuwa!
Sweet-tooth? Try the soft serve ice cream made from delectable local Mikan (mandarins) or the Momiji ( maple leaf shaped cakes filled with sweet bean paste, custard, chocolate, mikan jelly or cream cheese). I prefer mine straight but if you want em battered and fried - go right ahead. 

So now the little buggers decide to show off for the cameras....
and they weren't the only ones.... cheers boys

erm.. time to head back to town then....


  1. Lol Jane! Yes it's only us foodies who would consider buying some food for a seven minute trip! :)

    Beautiful pictures you've shared. I love the deer... their nonchalant attitude reminds me so much of my dogs. When they were puppies they would come to me so easily... now no matter what I do they need lots of coaxing to pay attention... sigh... maybe I need to get me some of those cheery boys!

  2. In my defence Trissa, I didn't realise the trip would be quite so short... ah who am I kidding - I would have bought them anyway
    Hope all is well in Sydney town. It is supposed to snow here on Xmas day so I am just a little excited.