Soak up the harmonious atmosphere in Hiroshima’s spectacular woodland temple.
Mitaki is a beautiful and atmospheric temple complex tucked away in a forest on the slopes of Mount Mitaki, just north of Hiroshima city. The area is particularly eye-catching during autumn when it transforms into a vibrant collage of red.
Mitaki is named for the three waterfalls within its grounds, as its Japanese characters are literally “three” and “waterfall.” Mitaki-dera Temple is dedicated to Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy and dates back to 809. Close to the entrance of the complex is a striking two-storied pagoda. This was moved to Hiroshima from Wakayama in 1951 to help comfort the souls of those killed by the atomic bomb.
There’s also a small, rustic-looking teahouse where you can enjoy simple traditional Japanese food.
As you wander through the tranquil grounds, you’ll come across several other memorials for the atomic bomb victims, as well as innumerable stone jizo statues. Jizo is the protector of women, children and travelers, and his statues are often seen wearing bright red caps and bibs. Many of these statues are covered in moss, which only adds to the temple’s enchanting aesthetic. There’s also a small, rustic-looking teahouse where you can enjoy simple traditional Japanese food.
Behind the main part of the grounds you can find a couple of hiking trails up to the 365-meter summit of Mount Mitaki (also known as Mount Uematsu and Mount Soko), one of which takes you up through a bamboo forest. The trail is steep in places but not too long or challenging, making it suitable for even casual hikers. At the top, you’ll find a small open space with some benches where you can have lunch and enjoy the fantastic view out over Hiroshima city.
Good to know: Mitaki is not usually crowded, but it may get busy during the autumn months when the leaves are changing color.