An unusual temple complex where a “Buddhist hell” competes with an Italian cafe
The Kosanji Temple is a unique and fascinating destination in Hiroshima, japan. This temple complex is unlike any other, as it features a combination of traditional Buddhist architecture and unexpected elements, including a replica of an Italian cafe. Construction on the temple began in 1936 and took over three decades to complete. Today, it stands as a testament to the dedication and artistry of its creators.
The grounds of the Kosanji Temple are filled with replicas from some of Japan’s most renowned religious sites. Visitors can see replicas of the Phoenix Hall from the Byodoin Temple and the Yomeimon Gate from the Nikko Toshogu Shrine. These replicas are meticulously crafted and offer a glimpse into the rich history and cultural significance of these iconic structures.
To reach the temple, visitors have the option of taking a ferry or a local bus. The ferry departs from Onomichi Port in front of Onomichi Station and travels to Sawa Port or Setoda Port on Ikuchijima Island. The ferry journey takes approximately 40 minutes, with nine departures per day. From either port, it is a short 15-minute walk to the temple. Alternatively, visitors can take a local bus from Onomichi Station that stops directly in front of the temple. The bus journey takes about an hour, with buses arriving every two to three hours.
One of the most intriguing features of the Kosanji Temple is its “Buddhist hell.” This section of the temple is a long cave lined with statues and artifacts that depict the concept of hell in the Buddhist faith. The cave provides a cool respite from the hot summer months and offers a unique and somewhat eerie experience for visitors. The lighting and imagery in the cave create a haunting atmosphere that may be unsettling for young children.
At the summit of the temple, visitors will find the Miraishin-no-Oka, or Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future. This area offers a walking path and lookout point with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The centerpiece of this area is the Tower of Light statue, a symbol of hope and enlightenment. Adjacent to the statue is Cafe Cuore, a small Italian eatery made entirely of marble. This unexpected addition to the temple complex adds a touch of whimsy and serves as a charming spot to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or a light meal.
The Kosanji Temple is a testament to the diversity and creativity of Japanese architecture and design. While the styles found within the temple are incredibly varied, they have been carefully selected to complement each other. The juxtaposition of traditional Buddhist structures and an Italian cafe creates a colorful and vibrant atmosphere that is unlike anything you will find at other temples in Japan.
Visiting the Kosanji Temple is a unique and memorable experience that offers a fresh perspective on the intersection of different cultures and traditions. It is a place where visitors can appreciate the beauty of both Japanese and Italian artistry while exploring the spiritual and philosophical teachings of Buddhism. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a lover of architecture, or simply someone looking for a one-of-a-kind experience, the Kosanji Temple is sure to leave a lasting impression.
In conclusion, the Kosanji Temple in Hiroshima, Japan, is a truly remarkable destination. Its combination of traditional Buddhist architecture and unexpected elements, such as the Italian cafe, make it a must-visit for anyone seeking a unique cultural experience. The temple’s replicas of famous religious sites, its “Buddhist hell” cave, and its beautiful lookout point all contribute to the temple’s allure. So, if you find yourself in Hiroshima, be sure to make a stop at the Kosanji Temple and immerse yourself in its rich history and distinctive atmosphere.
Address And Maps Location:
553-2 Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima-ken