We had signed up for the tour in Hiroshima assuming that we would be seeing things connected with the atomic bomb dropped there years ago.  That’s what you get for signing up for a tour without doing your research first (or fully reading the description).  Most of us on the tour assumed we would be going to the bridge first, the bombing place second, and the museum last.  Instead of going to the memorial after the Kintai Bridge tour, we went to Miyajima, a lovely island just outside Hiroshima, Japan that I thought was called Hiroshima Island. (Thank goodness for the internet to correct me.  🙂  )

After the bus ride from Kintai Bridge, I noticed the famous O-Torii Gate on the water and snapped this picture:

A distant view of the red Tori gate in the water in front of the shrine.

As we pulled up to the ferry station, this guy was ready to greet us.

Ametal diety in green with lots of gold fringe overlooking the road to the ferry terminal

Most of us had to stop at a nearby 7/11 to get out cash so there was a delay in the plan.  I think our group missed the planned ferry and had to get on the one that came a half hour later.  Anyways, this is what we saw as the ferry arrived:

A Japanese attendant counting the passengers as the ferry approaches the pier.

One of the things that Hiroshima is famous for are their oysters, according to our tour guide.

Oysters grow underwater from floating planks

Oyster farm in Hiroshima, Japan

While on the ferry for the twenty minute ride I took a few more pictures of the floating Tori.

A large red Torii gate in front of a sprawling Japanese shrine

My favorite picture in front of Itsukushima Shrine.

Once we got to Miyajima, we instantly saw a deer.  Deer?  In Japan?  Yeah, I was surprised as well.  Apparently they are mainly in Miyajima and Nara, Japan.  Deer are sacred creatures in Japan as they are considered to be messengers from the gods.  Not surprising then that deer are so used to humans and all our antics.  We were warned not to feed the animals but that they have a habit of eating any food or paper in their reach.  The Wikitravel site said they will even go through someone’s backpack that people are wearing if they smell something good.  Beware of the deer!

A wild deer poses for a human who is bent over trying to get the perfect picture.

Needless to say, the deer have the run of the island

A deer is calmly exploring behind two food booths as no human pays attention.

Can you see the completely safe deer near the food?

and are a huge draw for pictures.

People form a loose circle around a japanese deer to get the perfect picture

Smile for the camera!

I wasn’t too hungry when we got to the shopping arcade (their way of saying a few streets and restaurants that open into the same street) since I’d picked up a snack at the 7/11 when I got cash.  I decided that it might be smarter to just buy munchies for the two hours we had instead of a full sit-down lunch.  These fish cakes wrapped in bacon (one was a cheese fish cake and the other was an asparagus fish cake) seemed like a good idea when I bought them.  By the time I was halfway through them both I was sick of the fish taste and they were pretty filling.

Two dough rolls wrapped in bacon on sticks for easy eating

Okay, meal done, I figured I’d probably be good for the afternoon and went strolling on to see the shops.  There I saw a lot of the usual Japanese souvenirs, a lot of dried fish,

Packets of dried fish in barrels next to each other.

and whole oysters for sale (or just decoration, I can’t read Japanese and had little interest in buying raw oysters).

Oyster shells next to a box of oysters in their shells

There was also this umbrella with water dripping down it that I found rather amusing but an interesting advertising option.

A pink cloth umbrella with black edging under a constant trickle of water.

I wondered for an hour before I suddenly realized I was hungry.  I hadn’t seen anything amazing and wasn’t quite in the mood for fish after those fish sticks so I went for the local specialty: okonomi-yaki with oysters.

An image of a menu describing the local version of the dish.

Yes, I took a pic so I could remember what it’s called.

They took my order with a group of people who sat down with me in the family run restaurant and cleaned up the grill from the last batch of customers.

The noodles cook on one side of the huge grill while the vegetables and pork cook on the other side.

This could be interesting…

On the left you can see the vegetables cooking under the thin flour pancake.  The pork is cooking in the middle of each round of veges and meat for the center is cooking under each lid.  To the right you see the Chinese noodles heating up.  They come in single serving packages the cooks rinse and set out on the grill like this.  Then they add a clear liquid and toss each serving like a salad, adding sauce I think is soy sauce near the end of  the tossing.

A cook using two spatulas to toss a set of noodles like one would mix a salad.

Once the veges are cooked and the noodles tossed correctly an egg is cracked on the grill, the veges and noodles are stacked on top of each other with the flour pancake on the bottom.  A quick flip puts the egg on the bottom and the pancake on top. The egg cooking behind a finished stack of egg under veges, meat, and pancake. The dish is left to finish cooking the egg while the rest of the batch is duplicated.  Then the entire pile is flipped onto a deep plate, cut in half, then in thirds the other way, a sauce is added along with the desired meat, and it is all served to the customer.

A close up of Okonomi-yaki with oysters in the center.

My Okonomi-yaki

It was interesting.  I’m not sure I would go out of my way to find okonomi-yaki done Hiroshima style again, it was a lot of flavors and textures mixed together in a confusing blend for my simple Midwestern palette, but it wasn’t bad.  I didn’t force myself to eat the whole thing, though.  I left at least one square because it was filling, along with my earlier snacks, and I had less than twenty minutes to meet up with my tour group again.  However, I did take time to get desert.

A cup of ice cream squeezed out of it's machine driping with dark red berry sauce


This berry honey on soft serve was too much to pass up after weeks with tasteless food and a long day of traveling.

I met up with the rest of the group and we headed to our next and final destination for the day.  However, I’ll leave you with one last glimpse of Miyajima Island as we saw it from the ferry.

A picture of hills aligned in such a way to resemble a human face and chest.

Can you see what I see?

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter