These are the remains of a holy tree that is believed to be more than 1000 years old and you will find it when walking back from the Itsukushima Shrine to the village. The tree is covered by a small house in order to protect it a bit against erosion.
The Treasure Hall or Homotsukan is one the most impressive of Miyajimas buildings. The hall was constructed in 1934 for the purpose of storing and preserving the thousands of priceless artefacts and documents presented to the shrine over the ages. The hall contains over 4000 pieces with 130 listed as Japanese national and cultural treasures.
Entry to the hall is included in the ¥500 combo ticket for the Itsukushima Shrine and Treasure Hall
OK, it doesn’t quite have the space for a thousand tatami mats but with a florrspace equal to 857 mats it does comes pretty close and Senjokaku is indeed one of Miyajimas most impressive buildings. Built in 1587, it is the biggest building on Miyajima and origanlly functioned as sutra repository where sutra chanting would be conducted in honour of war victims and casualties. It was the Japanese warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi, who financed the building of the Pavilion after unifying Japan. However, Hideyoshi Toyotomi died during the construction and even today, it remains unfinished but still well worth seeing.
An odd site to many visitors, the giant rice scoop is one of Miyajima's famous sites, but rice scoops actually have an interesting history here. During the 18th century, a Buddhist priest had the residents of the island make rice scoops in the shape of the goddess Benzaiten's biwa (lute). They sold these to the visitors to Itsukushima Shrine as religious symbols. The word "meshitoru" means both "to scoop rice" and "to conquer one's enemy". Here, they were sold as good luck symbols (that were also practical) to help people conquer their spiritual enemies.
The giant rice scoop is 7.7 meters long and weighs an astonishing 2.5 tons! It looks heavy but I would never have guessed it was that heavy!
The giant rice scoop offers a nice photo op and it's free to view. You can purchase real Miyajima rice scoops, as well as souvenir rice scoops all over the island. Also, the post office has special rice scoops that can actually be sent as letters. You can send them as is within Japan, but if you send them abroad, they must be in an envelope.
Old streets or people's living quarters which are just a hundred meters inner side from the sea. The are sometimes overshadowed the famous shrine and temples. But it is interesting to see the houses and small streets where Miyajima people live. Its also a calm area and there are some interesting shops dealing with local products.
You've gotta try the grilled oysters that they sell in quite a few of the shops. Oysters are supposed to be one of their famous dishes. I went to Miyajima in the laste afternoon and made the mistake of not trying these out earlier. Some stalls sell them in 2s, 4s, 6s. By the time i went to see the torii and walked back wanting to try these, the only stall selling them sold them in like 4s and 6s. I'm not a big fan of oysters so landed up not being able to try them.
Senjokaku, also known as Toyokuni Shrine, was commissioned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi and completed in its current form in 1587. It was never completed because Toyotomi Hideyoshi died, and that's why it is open with no walls. This is the original structure and the art inside on the ceilings is interesting.
Beside Senjokaku is the famous Five-tiered Pagoda (Gojunoto) built in 1407. It's very popular to find spots on the island where you can get the pagoda together with Itsukushima Shrine in the same shot.
Entrance to Senjokaku is 100 yen.
Tsutsumigaura Park has actually a beautiful sandy beach with fine white sands and a child friendly shallow stretch of waters. There are also tennis courts, camping ground and beach houses. Excellent for family recreation!
It was too wet to wander far (especially with a baby), so we made short forays from our Ryokan, trying to see as much as possible and heading back in between sights to warm up and dry off. We also ate...a lot...from the food stalls (the cold and wet does tend to make you hungry)...it also makes for very friendly shopkeepers, so be prepared for a chat! Some of the friendliest locals were the deer...but be careful, they snatch!
The deer roam freely on Miyajima, just like in some other parts of Japan. Be careful though as some do get a bit friendly.