“Do you see the jellyfish?” Mark pointed excitedly into the water.
I mumbled an acknowledgement, afraid that if I opened my mouth, something other than words would come out.
We had been bobbing up and down on a ferry for the last 15 minutes and it appeared I had left my sea legs back in Osaka.
We had set out early that morning from Nankai, taking a train to Wakayama, and then another to Kada. A short walk from the station, Kada Port was our second-final destination. If I managed to keep my breakfast down, we’d soon be exploring Japan’s real life Laputa.
“…so please do not feed the deer,” the announcement played over a loudspeaker as soon as I walked out of the terminal. Wait – what!? There’s deer here? Thanks to the Interwebs, many of Japan’s “animal islands” have become pretty well known in recent years, but I’d never heard of Miyajima being described as one.
The small island (officially Itsukushima, but popularly known as Miyajima) in the Western part of the Seto Inland Sea is best known for the red, ‘floating’ torii gate that marks the entrance to Itsukushima Shrine. Revered for centuries as a holy place, the shrine is considered one of the most beautiful sights in all of Japan, and, just under an hour away from the city center, a must-see for any visit to Hiroshima.
What I didn’t know was that it is also home to a population of wild-but-tame Sika deer. And that they are slowly starving to death.