Traditional crafting is a very common artistic skill mastered by people in Miyajima. One of these crafts is a giant rice scoop located in the district of Omotesando. It is made of zelkova tree (or Japanese elm) wood with the following measurements: 7.7 meters in length, 2.7 meters in width, and weighing in at 2.5 tons. It is considered to be the world’s largest wooden scoop.
Between the years 1790 and 1800, a Buddhist monk named Seishin dreamed of the Japanese goddess, Benzaiten. She is said to have originated from the Hindu goddess, Saraswati. In his dream, he saw her holding a lute which was seen by the monk as a spoon. He thought of it as something magical and started making a rice scoop. He also taught other people how to make it. From then on, it became a tradition which also started the fame of rice scoops in Miyajima. It even became a popular souvenir for people visiting the nearby Itsukushima Shrine.
Miyajima rice scoops are believed to bring about good luck and good health. It is also known for bringing victory to battles. The popularity of rice scoops in the area prompted the making of the largest wooden rice scoop. It took almost three years to complete since its construction in the 1980s. It has been displayed since 1996 upon the designation of Itsukushima Shrine as a World Heritage Site.
In the modern times, plastic rice scoops tend to be more popular than wooden ones. Higher grade items are sold as gifts or souvenirs in shops. These retain the old superb quality of Miyajima rice scoops with smooth texture and shape.
Miyajima’s largest wooden rice scoop should not be missed if you happen to travel there! Try buying some souvenir scoops as well for family and friends back home or simply keep it for yourself for good luck.
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