Our destination after Kyoto was Hiroshima. Although we only had one night / two half days to spend there, we decided to head to the nearby island of Miyajima for the afternoon as soon as we arrived in Hiroshima.
Miyajima is known as a very beautiful place and a holy place - the whole island is considered sacred and in Shinto is actually considered to be the body of God.
There certainly was beauty and serenity to be found there.
Also, deer again! And if we thought the Nara deer were pretty tame, those on Miyajima were cheeky and even potentially aggressive.
Obviously, if you have food for them, they crowd in.
They're completely comfortable mingling really closely with the humans.
I was standing, talking with Mum, when I felt something tugging on my bag. My sister was quick with the camera and caught this deer in the act, stealing my MAP!
As I moved my hand to the outer pocket of the bag, the deer pulled away, munching on half of the map. You can just see the last of it disappearing in the deer's mouth, in the photo below. I managed to keep the other half of the map. I think it makes a memorable souvenir. At this point Mum mentioned she had seen a warning somewhere that the deer like to eat paper. I guess they probably shouldn't, though.
This deer must have really liked that half-map. The cheeky bugger followed me along the street. I was starting to wonder if this deer was going to tail me for my whole visit on the island, and I was getting a bit nervous...so I did a rapid u-turn and was relieved to find it had taken an interest in someone else.
The one in the photo below was just hanging out, not too close to people, minding its own business. Suddenly a stupid person came past and slapped it on the hindquarters. It sprang towards us in shock, but luckily calmed down quickly.
It was a hot dry day and many of the deer made a speciality of lying around, posing majestically.
So the deer gave us a bit of entertainment and were lovely to photograph, but even apart from them, the island itself was well worth the visit. It's quite hilly and as soon as we started to climb up away from the hot dusty shore there was lots of peaceful and green spaces. My sister and I couldn't resist a taking our shoes off and sitting by a stream with our feet in the cool water. I'm pretty sure that was not really the done thing and we did get a few amused looks from people crossing the nearby bridge. Although there were many tourists dressed casually in shorts and other summer gear, we also saw many Japanese people dressed reasonably formally, like it was a Sunday stroll to church. I hope we didn't seriously offend with our feet in the water.
And there was this place. I loved spending time in the massive hall of Toyokuni shrine, an incredibly calm and soothing space to take some time to rest. Right behind it was a flashy five-storey pagoda: but I found this building much more compelling.