Daishoin Temple Miyajima

A hidden gem full of weird and fun statues

Little stone men with hats

So you’re at Itsukushima Shrine and just finished looking at the beautiful Shinto torii in the water. Now what? Well, if you’re willing to walk a bit, there’s a Buddhist temple nearby called Daishoin (大聖院). If you’ve gotten one of those flyers detailing the popular spots, perhaps you noticed it on the corner of the map. I had no expectations going in, so what I found was actually quite fun and enjoyable.

According to the brilliant minds of Wikipedia, Daishoin was founded by Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism. What struck me most about this place was its variety of stone figures.

If that’s not strange and fun enough for you already, you’ll find a cool hall in one of the buildings. It’s full of unique ceiling lighting that feels quite exotic, even if you’ve been to a million other temples.

And on your way out, don’t forget to make a wish…

Wishing plaques
Write one wish, and it may come true

And spin a couple of these sutra-spinny-contraptions. It’s a symbolic gesture of reading the sutras.

Spinning sutras
Spinning these things supposedly means you read them. Kind of wish they made college readings like this…

Getting to Miyajima

You can get to Miyajima, and thus Daishoin via the JR ferry. If you have the Japan Rail Pass, it’s covered! What a great way to explore Japan, eh?

Enjoy the strange statues, and don’t forget to explore the rest of Miyajima!

Statue holding money
A little stone man hoarding cash

Daishoin (大聖院)

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Daishoin Temple Miyajima

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