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Region
Chugoku
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Hiroshima
Population
2,878,949

Mount Misen

Climb your way to enlightenment.

Enveloped by verdant greenery and crystalline waters, Mt. Misen rises 500 metres over the Seto Inland Sea on the scenic, spiritual island of Miyajima, just minutes away from Hiroshima City by ferry. If you’re lucky enough to reach the summit when the sky is clear, you can catch the faint silhouette of Hiroshima in the distance.

The view from the top of Mount Misen is hard to beat.

The view from the top of Mount Misen. On a clear day you can just make out the outline of Hiroshima.

Currently, there are two ways to reach the summit: one is by foot from the base of the mountain, while the other involves taking the ropeway up. The three hiking trails – the Momijidani, the Daisho-in, and the Omoto courses – all vary in difficulty and time required to complete the hike. The Daisho-in course arguably boasts the best views of them all, while the Momijidani course, albeit the most strenuous, will allow you to reach the peak in 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Still, don’t think you’re off the hook if you plan on taking the ropeway – the summit lies approximately a kilometer away from the drop-off point.

This mountain is particularly well known amongst practicing Buddhists as it’s believed to be the first place that Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, frequented in his pilgrimages. You can see vestiges of this on your way up to the summit, near which you’ll encounter the Misen Main Hall and the Reikado. The Reikado acts as a sanctuary for a sacred flame that Daishi allegedly lit himself when he worshiped atop the mountain more than 1200 years ago. Known as the Eternal Flame, it’s been burning ever since.

The Eternal Flame was used to light the "Flame of Peace" at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The Eternal Flame was used to light the “Flame of Peace” at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.

The area abounds with treasures, aptly named the Seven Wonders of Misen. One of them is the Eternal Flame lit by Daishi; it is said that water boiled by the heat of the fire can heal any ailments from which a person may be suffering. Another is the Shakujo Ume Tree, which sprouted from a root that Daishi had left behind. During years of war or poverty, the ume (plum) tree will not bear any fruit.

Other wonders include the Mandaraiwa (now closed off to the public), the Kanmaniwa, the Hyoshigi no Oto – the sound of a Tengu’s wooden clappers which locals believe brings bad luck, and the Shigurezakura and Ryuoto no Segi, both legendary trees that were cut down.

Mount Misen also has a special place for couples where they can make momiji manju – a Hiroshima sweet favourite – together in a cooking workshop at the ropeway station. They can also stand at the Fire of Oath and metaphorically light the fire that ignites their love for each other.

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Things To Know

Miyajima Ropeway

The ride from the base will take you about 20 minutes and will require you to transfer cars along the way. It costs ¥1000 for a one-way trip and ¥1800 for a round trip. Open 9:00 to 17:00, though this varies depending on the weather.

How To Get There

Address

1404 Miyajimachō, Hatsukaichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken 739-0588, Japan

By foot

The ropeway station is 10 minutes walk south (inland) away from Itsukushima Shrine.

Where To Stay

Kikunoya
  • Miyajima-cho 335 Hatsukaichi-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0523
  • 8.7/10
  • 2.6 km
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Miyajima Guest House Mikuniya
  • Miyajima-cho Chue-machi 327 Hatsukaichi-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0523
  • 9.6/10
  • 2.7 km
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Iwaso
  • Miyajima-cho Momijidani Hatsukaichi-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0522
  • 9.3/10
  • 2.7 km
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Miyajima Grand Hotel Arimoto
  • Miyajimacho Minami-machi 364 Hatsukaichi-Shi, Hiroshima 739-0522
  • 9.1/10
  • 2.8 km
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