Popularly known as the Island of the Gods, Miyajima is regarded as one of the most scenic places you can find in Japan. It is rich in virgin forests, well-preserved shrines and temples, and historical monuments. It is said that Daihonzan Daisho-in (大本山大聖院) is the oldest temple on the island, and it can be found at the foot of a broad mountain. This Shingon Buddhist (真言宗) temple stands in a serene atmosphere and boasts several features that are worth the trek!
Daihonzan Daisho-in’s background has been linked to the Japanese Imperial family until the 19th century. Several emperors have honored this place, such as Emperor Toba, who founded his own prayer hall in the temple.
Ever since it has been founded, it has also been extended and started having affiliated temples such as the ever-popular Itsukushima shrine, a Shinto shrine known for its floating torii gate. It also served as the place for politics carried out by the head of Itsukushima shrine.
The temple has several interesting features, such as Niomon Gate (仁王門), which is the official gateway into the temple. It is guarded by a pair of scary-looking statues believed to ward off evil spirits. Another part you can’t skip is the Reiho-kan Hall (霊宝館) which exhibits the temple’s treasures such as one of the country’s Important Cultural Properties, the oldest seated Fudo Myo-o image (木造不動明王坐像) with braided hair in the country.
On your way to the temple, you will be greeted by a lineup of 500 Rakan (羅漢) Statues, which all have unique and intimate appearances. As a hint to start the time of worship, a belfry is rung. It was used to tell the time in the past, when it was also rung at exact times in the morning, afternoon, and evening.
If you want to experience a spiritual atmosphere in a well-preserved place filled with magic and wonder, it is a great idea to visit Daihonzan Daisho-in in Miyajima!
You can click here for Miyajima’s official homepage.