Miyajima is a small island close to Hiroshima that I visited when things at the memorial service got to emotional; for me. This island’s real name is Itsukushima , and Miyajima is just a popular nickname meaning “Shrine Island”.
While at the floating shrine, Itsukushima I really wanted to do the Chinese fortune telling sticks but unfortunately everything was in Japanese. Kau Chim or Chinese Fortune Sticks is a fortune telling practice where a person requests answers from a sacred oracle lot.
You have to think silently or whisper your request to the deity while holding the cup with the sticks between your palms. You then shake the cylinder, tip it slightly downward, letting one stick slide out of the cylinder. Each stick, with its designated number, represents one answer.
The number will correspond to the 100 written oracles with an answer on it. The writing on the piece of paper will provide an answer to the question.
After exiting the shrine I walked up a winding path leading to the other temples spread out over the island. I came across Tahoto Pagoda (photo 9507) hidden between the trees of the reserve.
I bought an ice-cream and sat in the shade watching the deer harass people before I felt cooled down enough to walk to Daisho-in Temple. When I arrived at the temple and saw all the stairs I had to climb to the top I almost fainted!
At least I got to perform a very interesting Buddhist ritual while walking up the temple’s steps. Along the stairs is a row of spinning metal wheels known as prayer wheels that are inscribed with sutra (Buddhist scriptures). Turning the inscriptions as one walks up is believed to have the same effect as reading them. So, without any knowledge of Japanese, you can benefit from the blessings that the reading of sutra is believed to entail.
When I eventually reached the top I walked into the main shrine and through the Kannon-do Hall filled with a lot of small Kannon statues or warriors that look ready to attack or defend the shrine.
The Shrine grounds are filled with some very weird statues and I even found a small shrine with an offer place for Old kitchen knives!!
I came across Henjokutsu Cave while walking through the temple grounds. Inside this cave was a fascinating and very eerie collection of 88 Buddhist icons related to the 88 Temple Pilgrimage in Shikoku.
I had a great day although at times I thought I was going to faint in the heat. On the way back to the ferry I walked past a picturesque 5-story pagoda, a great end to an amazing day!!