Mount Misen is the highest mountain in Miyajima. With a height of about 535 meters over the sea level, it offers impressive panoramic views of Japan's inland sea and even the coast of Hiroshima on a clear day. It has been considered sacred and object of worship since ancient times and houses several structures near the top dedicated to Kobo Daishi, a great Buddhist priest who is believed to be the first person to practice Buddhism in the area.
The peak of Mount Misen can be reached through three different hiking trails, the Momijidani Course, the Daishoin Course and the Omoto Course, each of which take around one and a half to two hours to complete. Additionally, a ropeway covering most part of the Momijidani Course is available, although walking is still required to reach the peak. Wild deer and monkeys roam freely in Mount Misen and can be found quite easily, especially in Momijidani Park, at the beginning of the Mimijidani Course, and near the ropeway stations.
The Daisho-in Temple is located at the foot of Mount Misen, marking the start of the Daishoin Climbing Course, and it's considered to be one of the most distinguished Temples of the Shingon Buddhism sect. It was founded in the year 806 by the famous Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi and had strong relations with the imperial family through its history, having hosted the Meiji Emperor in 1885 when he visited Itsukushima.
The Temple is formed by a complex of several constructions set on the slope of the mountain and connected by stairways made of stone, some of which are decorated with sutras. Some of the most interesting structures are the Imperial Gate, the Main Hall, which houses the Buddha image Namikiri-Fudo, the Manpuku Hall, an octagonal structure made entirely of wood, and the Maniden Hall, which offers nice views both of Mount Misen and the coast.
JR Sanyo Line
25 min. 400¥
JR Miyajima Ferry
10 min. 170¥
The base of Miyajima island can easily be explored on foot, taking around 10 minutes to reach Itsukushima Shrime from the Ferry Terminal and an additional 5 minutes to get to Daisho-in Temple.
The hiking trails to reach the peak of Moun Misen can be quite steep at parts and demand physical effort The lower ropeway station can be reached on a 10 minute walk from Itsukushima Shrine.