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Itsukushima (厳島) is an island in the Inland Sea of Japan. It is popularly known as Miyajima (宮島), the Shrine Island. Itsukushima is part of the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture.  The island was the town of Miyajima prior to the 2005 merger with Hatsukaichi.

Itsukushima is famous for the Itsukushima Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  According to records, the shrine was established in the time of Empress Suiko.  The warrior-courtier Taira no Kiyomori gave the shrine its present form.  In 1555, Mori Motonari defeated Sue Harukata at the Battle of Miyajima. Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a large building, the Senjō-kaku, on a hill above the shrine.

Including around the island (Seto Inland Sea) and all of the island are within Setonaikai National Park.  Itsukushima is mountainous and sparsely settled.  It does have an elementary school and a middle school.  There are no traffic signals.  Frequent ferry services, operated by JR West (JR Miyajima ferry) and by Miyajima Matsudai Tourist Ship, carry traffic between the island and the mainland.  The trip takes about ten minutes.

Miyajima's maple trees are renowned throughout Japan, and blanket the island in crimson in the autumn.  Momiji manju, pastries filled with azuki jam or custard, are popular souvenirs, and carry maple-leaf emblems.  Because the island is sacred, trees may not be cut for lumber.  Deer and monkeys roam freely.  A style of wooden spoon used to serve cooked rice, without impairing the taste, is said to have been invented by a monk who lived on the island.  This style of spoon is a popular souvenir and there are some outsized examples around the shopping district.  The peak of Mount Misen, at 535 m, is the highest point on the island. A ropeway carries visitors to the top.

People fishing off of the wall.

I just love it, look at the sign.

Pretty little islands off the coast.

The deer were very excited to get food!

A map of the island of Miyajima.

You can see through the World Heritage Monument the torii gate, "floating" in the water, representing the entrance to Itsukushima Shinto Shrine.

Cute little shop lined street.

The kids LOVED the deer!

A stone torii gate, this one is also representing the entrance to Itsukushima Shinto Shrine.

The guard dog, well a close up of one of them.

Us and our pretty matching Yankees shirts (that we got in Japan)!

Leesa and Buster with the torii gate.

The deer were friendly and everywhere!

No don't eat the map!

The sky that day was so pretty.

There was a parade going on when we arrived on the island and Jonathan finally got some pictures after we chased the float for a while.

It was kids performing some sort of skit and playing drums.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine is the neatest shrine we have been to. It was very pretty and at high tide, the water comes up under the shrine.

The torii gate at high tide.

The front of the shrine.

Large sake barrels given to the shrine as offerings. They have large company advertisements on them.

Ahh! Get back! Nice deer!

They were ferocious when you had food!

They were not patient at all to get that food!

Daiganji Temple.

This stream runs through the town and starts somewhere in mountains. The deer like sitting down there near the water.

How much farther did that sign say? This map doesn't say!

Resting by the pretty water fall.

Funny signs!

Another funny sign! We saw a lot this day.

On the ropeway up to the monkey park. Mom enjoyed saying hello to the people going down.

Now, monkeys are around here ...

These were too funny! We had actually seen the middle one on a website for funny/strange signs in Japan.

Monkeys!

They were so cute! But we made sure not to look them in the eye so that they wouldn't have to worry about controlling themselves!

Setonaikai National Park, Shishiiwa Station, about 432m above sea level.

The view.

This is where Jonathan wanted us to hike to. He got outvoted.

The monkeys really liked the roof of that shed.

This was so funny! He just decided to walk over there then he just jumped to the pole! It was really neat!

This is a mommy and baby doing the same thing a few minutes later.

Are we there yet? They decided that it was a good idea to hike back down to where we started the ropeway.

The scenary was nice even though it took a while to get to the bottom.

A tree growing out of a rock!

Scenic Beauty Restoration Project information at Momijidani Park.

Okumomijidani Bridge

Crossing Momijidani Bridge means getting closer!

Finally! Back in town!

A neat little garden that we found while looking for a place to eat lunch.

This is where the steam runs into the ocean.

The ocean.

Hey that's us in there!

Funny! What exactly is she doing? What's in her hands?

That's just a neat picture.

The deer liked paper, and people just gave it to them, well, sometimes they just took it!

A five-storied pagoda, it is kinda funny because many five-storeid pagodas don't have a name.

Another neat little street.

You can see the moon in the center right above the torii gate.

A pretty garden and pond.

Miyajima is known for their maple leaf shaped manju, a bean paste filled pastry very popular in Japan.

The tide went back out and people were walking across in front of the torii gate.

We decided to be crazy and walk across too.

A full view in front of Itsukushima Shinto Shrine.

Trying not to get my tennis shoes soaked since there are still lots of puddles!