Temples, Castles, and Shrines

One of the best ways to experience Japanese culture is by visiting religious and historical monuments. I’m talking about temples, castles, and shrines, all of which we saw during our adventure in Shimanami.

:cherry_blossom: Senkō-ji Temple (千光寺) :cherry_blossom:

[Image Source: Hero Travel Support]

One of the most beautiful views of Onomichi City can be enjoyed from Senkō-ji Park (千光寺公園) , which is named after Senkō-ji Temple. Some unique features of the park include…

  • :aerial_tramway: Senkōji Ropeway - This cablecar will take you from the foot of the mountain all the way to the top in less than 5 minutes! Enjoy a spectacular view of Onomichi from the car windows during the entire ride.

  • :house_with_garden: Neighborhoods - If you choose to hike up to or down from the park, you can enjoy being surrounded by quaint residential homes, schools, and smaller temples to experience the local side of Onomichi.

  • :cherry_blossom: Observation Deck - Access is free to this tower that offers an amazing 360 degree view of the city, ocean, and mountains. You can also enjoy seeing refreshing cherry blossoms during the springtime.

  • :art: Art Museum- The Onomichi City Museum of Art was designed by the famous architect Tadao Ando and features unique exhibitions. When we went there was an exhibition showcasing photos of cats!

[Photo Credit: Jiaqi Li ]

:japanese_castle: Imabari Castle (今治城) :japanese_castle:

[Photo Credit: Jiaqi Li ]

:ocean: After biking the Shimanami Kaido and arriving in Imabari (今治) , it’s worth spending a day to rest and enjoy the Island. The Imabari Castle is a particularly impressive site to visit. Built over 500 years ago, the castle is named as one of the “three great water castles” because of its wide moat.

:japanese_castle: The six-storied donjon features unique museums on each floor that range from showcasing ancient paintings to samurai suits to natural specimen. On the top floor you can enjoy an open-air view of the city.

:ocean: Itsukushima Shrine (厳島神社) :ocean:

[Photo Credit: Jiaqi Li ]

Last we visited the famous Itsukushima (厳島), also known as Miyajima (宮島) which means ‘Shrine Island’. The Shrine is most famous for its torii gate, which appears to be floating in the sea! The Shrine is considered by the Japanese government to be a National Treasure :star:

  • :boat: Visitors can get closer to the torri gate by hopping on one of the traditional boats that rides around the Shrine. Also note that it is possible to walk up and see the gate during low tide.

  • :fried_shrimp: Being on an island means that there is always fresh seafood nearby. When we went, we visited a restaurant that served delicious grilled oysters.

  • :maple_leaf: During the fall the island is painted crimson by the maple leaves that change color on the trees. A popular souvenir are maple leaf shaped pastries that are filled with azuki or custard.