A temple to enjoy the serenity despite its proximity to downtown
By car, it is only a 10-minute drive from the core of the city of Hiroshima. Located in a deep mountain valley, Mitaki-dera Temple is on the side of Mt. Mitaki and has a quiet air about it although it is close to the downtown area. The temple grounds which have a grand view of the city are in the form of a garden, and on the sando path to the temple, there are stone Buddha statues and tanka inscriptions which look out for the worshipers. The 3 waterfalls which flow within the grounds (“Mitaki” means “3 waterfalls”) provide the water used for the peace memorial ceremonies in Hiroshima. The 356m-tall Mt. Mitaki has a reasonable hiking course which starts from Mitaki-dera. Furthermore within the grounds, there also remains a belfry which was one of the bombed buildings in the war. During the bombing raids, the temple was a place of refuge for all those who were looking for water.
The stone Buddha and beautiful Important Cultural Properties
The lovely vermilion building amid the surrounding trees is the Tahoto, prefecturally designated as an Important Cultural Property. In 1951, it was moved from Wakayama Prefecture’s Hiro Hachiman Shrine for the memorial service for the dead from the atomic bombing. In the Tahoto, the wooden seated statue of Amidanyorai is enshrined. Along the sando, what meets your eye is the great number of stone Buddha statues. There are more than 300 statues including jizo, Kongo Rikishi statues and stone statues from Southeast Asia. This group of statues which seems to melt into the nature on the side of the mountain is well worth seeing.
A teahouse from where you can view the autumn colors
Mitaki-dera is known for being able to get a close view of the autumn colors. The best time is in the last couple of weeks of November when the Maple Festival is held on the 3rd Sunday of the month. The Mitaki Teahouse which has been refurbished from an old house at the bottom of the temple is a place where you can sample kaiseki ryori. Within its quiet Japanese atmosphere, the house is divided into a building with individual rooms and a restaurant. In the restaurant area, you will want to sample sweets such as the distinctive white warabi rice cakes among other items.