The number one reason most people visit Miyajima is of course to see the floating torii gate which is part of Itsukushima Shrine. I have been to Miyajima a fair few times over the years and thought I knew the island quite well but then I saw something on YouTube about this temple and was quite surprised to discover its location.
Miyajima is quite a convenient location in relation to my parents-in-law’s apartment so with a few hours to myself one afternoon I popped on down to the area via tram.
The last time I went to Miyajima was when my parents visited back in May 2016 so I thought I’d go again as there was a part which I had always bypassed and wanted to see. This was on New Years Eve and it was pretty busy despite the lack of foreign visitors due to the ongoing pandemic. It also seemed like there were less deer too!
Unbeknownst to me, the most famous sight was under construction. I wasn’t looking out for it really on the ferry but that may explain why I didn’t even catch a glance of it! It seems it’s actually been renovated since June 2019 and is expected to be finished this year sometime.
Daisho-in Temple is located in the east of the island about 20 minutes on foot from the ferry port and the Niomon Gate (below) is the official gateway into the temple.
500 Rakan statues line the steps to the temple and they all have individual and unique facial expressions.
Sadly when I was there the pathway was being hosed down and cleaned by a load of staff so I had to work round them to make sure they didn’t get in the way of my shots.
This has been a sight I’ve wanted to see for many years now but we just have not been to Hiroshima so much, particularly since the Covid_19 outbreak, in recent years. I’m not too sure it quite lived up to the serene atmosphere I antipated but that was probably due to the particular date I visited.
A little further up into the precinct is Shaka Nehan Hall which features Shaka Buddha (below) entering Nirvana surrounded by his sixteen disciples.
Hen jyokutsu cave (below) is a dimly lit cave featuring the principal Buddhist icons of the 88 temples of the prestiguous pilgrimage route on Shikoku. Worshippers believe that they are given the same blessings as people who make that trip to all the temples.
Basically, there’s a lot going on at this temple with four groups of Buddhist deities, Tengu (with wings and long noses) Jizo statues and countless other things.
This quirky temple has been on my want-to-go list for many years now and it is a relief to finally have crossed it off. Of course no one should go to Hiroshima Prefecture just for this temple but as Miyajima is a must-see place for first-time visitors then why not take a slight detour or the longer hike (en-route to Mount Misen) to see Daisho-in Temple.
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