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December 4, 2008
From journal Japanese-style Inns, Oysters and a Sobering Afternoon
May 28, 2003
Deer roam the streets freely and will gather round anyone with food. There are signs warning visitors against provoking them, particularly those with antlers. However, most animals are tame and harmless.
While strolling through town, we witnessed one kind-hearted soul who went to a booth near the Itsukushima Shrine to purchase food for the deer. She soon found herself surrounded by a small herd of deer and a flock of pigeons; waiting inpatiently for her to conclude her purchase. The deer followed her closely and even nudged at her for food. Needless to say, she freaked out and started running towards her group of friends while scattering food enroute. It was a hilarious sight, she, running with food trailing behind, followed closely by the deer and a flock of pigeons. This scene was again repeated later in the afternoon on another unsuspecting visitor. In short, if you must feed the local wildlife, be prepared to be stalked.
Souvenirs to bring home:
Miyajima town is well-known for Momiji Manju, a maple leaf-like shape of sweet cake filled with red/green bean paste. There are numerous shops making these sweet snack at practically every corner of the town. You can smell the fragrance of freshly baked Momiji Manju and hear the cling-clang of the hot iron moulds even before reaching the shops. A box of eight Momiji manju costs about 600 yen (US$7) and keeps up to one week.
Besides Momiji manju, Miyajima is well known for its huge oysters served with a squeeze of lemon (US$2/oyster) or cooked in assorted Japanese dishes available in most restaurants. The town is also famed for wooden rice scoops: the technique of making it was said to have originated from a Buddhist priest named Seishin during the Edo period. Look for the largest wooden rice scoop in the world sandwiched between rows of souvenir shops. These rice scoops make great souvenirs and are regarded as good luck tailsmans.
From journal Exploring Honshu, the Shinkansen way