By JJ Walsh
For sightseeing purposes, Miyajima Island is most famous for its floating Torii, as it is the most well-known and iconic part of Itsukushima shrine. In regards to cuisine and local foods, Miyajima Island is very famous for its "Momiji" flavored, shaped and decorated desserts. "Momiji" translates into maple leaf, and so these local Miyajima desserts are most commonly seen in the very shape of maple leaves, adding to the special and sacred aura of these Miyajima delicacies. Momiji Manju is one of most the popular desserts on the island. Manju is the standard type of wagashi, which are desserts and sweets usually eaten with Japanese tea.
The most common filling for Momiji Manju is azuki bean jam, making the dessert a smooth and delicate texture that melts in the mouth. The dough surrounding the filling - the maple leaf shaped dough - is mildly sweet, and is usually made with the standard wheat flour, eggs, sugar and honey mixture that makes up many Japanese-style cakes. Momiji Manju is perfect for a snacking craving, and is especially aesthetically attractive with its special maple leaf shape. I personally found the cake and dough to be very light and fluffy, which was an extra plus as it left me wanting to eat more. The Momiji cake that I personally experienced and tasted did not have an azuki bean filling, so I can only imagine how much more delicious the cake would have been with the filling!
If you are visiting Hiroshima and Miyajima Island, definitely be sure to take a photograph with a Momiji cake or manju in front of the floating Torii - it is the best proof and evidence that you visited and thoroughly enjoyed the lovely scenic island of Miyajima!
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