In addition to Itsukushima Shrine, Daishōin Temple (大聖院) on the top of a hill is another attraction on Miyajima that you should visit. The temple has the longest history among all the attractions on the sacred island. On top of the spectacular view from the temple, there are a few amazing things to see in its precinct!
Erected in 806 by the Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師), the temple is so famous that Hiroshima residents come to Miyajima for Daishōin Temple instead of the Itsukushima Shrine!
Daishōin is just around a 7-minute walk from Momijidani Park. Many of its worship halls, such as Misen Hondō (弥山本堂) and Reikadō Hall (霊火堂), are located on the hillside of Mt. Misen, at the top of the set of long staircases.
Next to the main gate of the temple, the temple’s map was drawn so beautifully that we had to take a photo of it (together with the fall foliage in the background (´▽｀*)).
The gate in the photo marks the starting point of the long staircase to the temple. While the climbing required might discourage some people, we promise you won’t regret making an effort to make it to the top because this is no ordinary temple (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
There are quite a few smaller halls scattered along the long stone staircases, which you can make a detour.
Many great historical leaders in Japan, imperial family members, and the 14th Dalai Lama have also climbed through the staircases you will be standing on.
With that in mind, as you walk, it might add to the peaceful and solemn atmosphere here and make the climbing less tiring.
At the back of Daishōin Temple’s precinct, you will find the Main Hall. Underneath the main hall is this fantasy space – Henjyōkutsu.
If you are thinking of making the 88 temple pilgrimage in Shikoku (四国) for the blessings you will receive, then definitely make your pilgrimage here. Because it is said you will earn the same blessing because the original statues of the Buddha in all 88 temples are placed here!
Also, another fun thing to do at Daishōin Temple is to discover the different facial expressions of the many Jizō statues (*^▽^*).
Shōjin Ryōri (精進料理) at Daishōin Temple
Whether you are a vegan or a vegetarian trying to escape from Miyajima‘s oyster-related cuisine, experiencing a bit of the Japanese culture by having Shōjin Ryōri at Daishōin Temple is always a great idea! The Kaiseki version of Shōjin Ryōri is not only going to be a luxurious meal but also healthy (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.
Reservations are required at least five days in advance and accepted if you have four or more people in your group. The temple can serve shōjin ryōri on most days from 11 am to 2 pm except on the below dates.
- From the 31st of December to the 3rd of January
- On the 3rd of February
- On the 8th of March
- On the 15th of April and November
- On the 10th of August
- On the 24th of September.
Tip: It won’t hurt to check with them to see if they have already received a booking from others on the day you intend to visit the temple. They might be able to cater to you if that is the case (^_-)-☆.
- Furigana means how your name is written in Japanese Hiragana, which you should be able to get from Google Translate.
- If you live overseas, put the postcode as 000-0000.
Events and Festivals at Daishōin Temple
Many rituals and events occur at the temple throughout the year. Below are the main ones for you to consider!
- The 15th of April from 11 am: Spring Festival and Firewalking Shinto Ritual (春季大祭・紫灯護摩 火渡り神事)
- The 8th to the 9th of September: Daishōin Special Nighttime Opening (大聖院特別夜景拝観)
- The 10th to the 12th of September: Miyajima Candle Festival (宮島ローソクまつり 萬燈会)
- The 3rd of November to the 10th and the 17th to the 23rd of November: Autumn Foliage Light-Up (もみじライトアップ)
- The 15th of November: Autumn Festival and Firewalking Shinto Ritual (秋季大祭・紫灯護摩・火渡り神事)
How to Get to Daishōin Temple
- From Miyajima Pier, it is around a 30-minute walk.
- Daishōin is open from 8 am to 5 pm
Refer to our Miyajima article for Itsukushima Shrine’s access information.
Recommended Hotels and Ryokans on Miyajima
The below hotels/ryokans can accommodate special dietary requirements.
Discover Other Fascinating Attractions on Miyajima
Itsukushima Shrine isn’t the only awesome attraction on Miyajima. The sacred island has many other great places awaiting your visit!
For more information about where to go after you land on Miyajima, including budget accommodation, please refer to our article on Miyajima!