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Is this Ancient Greece?! The Mediterranean landscape of Shimanami Kaido's Ikuchijima island

Updated Sep 23, 2015

There is a beautiful marble garden on Ikuchijima island, part of Hiroshima prefecture’s Onomichi city. The garden named “Miraishin no Oka” (Heights of Eternal Hope for the Future) is located next to Hirayama Ikuo Museum of Art, within the temple grounds of Kosanji temple. Spanning over 5000 square meters, this garden was created by the internationally acclaimed Hiroshima sculptor Itto Kuetani. All the marble has been imported from Italy’s Carrara. Now let’s go to this beautiful place!

White art objects seen on the top of the hill


Kosanji temple belongs to the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist sect and was founded by the Osaka entrepreneur, engineer and owner of a steel company Kanamoto Kozo who eventually became a priest and created the temple as a devotion to his late mother in 1936.

Interesting white objects can be seen on the top of the hill behind the temple. That is “Miraishin no Oka” garden. But first, let’s explore Kosanji.

In the temple you can visit the writing room Choseikaku and other gorgeous Buddhist buildings. Choseikaku was built specially as a residence for Kozo’s mother. You can go inside and see the carefully designed little details of the beautiful interior, which will make you realize the extent to which Kozo loved his mother.

After you’ve finished exploring Kosanji temple, head towards “Miraishin no Oka” garden. Check the link in the memo below for the access to the garden and the temple.

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Like beautiful Ancient Greece… From the Breeze Path up the stairs to Amaneko

You can use the stairs or the elevator to climb up the hill and reach the marble garden “Miraishin no Oka”.

The view you will see will make you exclaim in wonder. A truly impressive landscape! Especially beautiful against the blue sky in good weather. The sunbeams turn the marble garden into a shining white world. First you take the Breeze Path, made to enshrine the twelve devas of Buddhism. Then you continue to Ishaten to the north-east. To your right is the cat statue Amaneko. Climb further up to the Tower of Light.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in onomichi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in onomichi

A brilliant little café in the demon garden

On the right side of the photo above you see “Futaoni no niwa” garden which is believed to be a place where you can meet demons. There are marble tables and seats, as well as parasols. A perfect place to have lunch.

From the top you can see the beautiful landscape of Seto Inland Sea. Kuetani himself created the design and the name “Café Cuore”.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in onomichi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in onomichi

Like hands reaching out to the sky, the wisdom light of "Miraishin no Oka"

The Tower of Light is built on a noticeable place at the top of the hill. It is the symbol of this marble garden.

Climb the stairs up to Tower of Light and stand there facing to the side. On your right is the White Lion Pillar, on your left is the White Statue Garden. From there you can see the remains of the ancient castle built by the Kobayakawa clan.

Between the White Lion Pillar and the Tower of Light is the Turtle Stage. Three big white rocks stand on it and look towards the sea. When you descend from the Tower of Light to Café Cuore you will see the Four Seasons Wind, which resembles a big sheer cliff representing the four seasons.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in onomichi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in onomichi

Spend an elegant time inside the beautiful little Café Cuore

The interior of the café uses marble all over and reminds the visitors of some place near the Mediterranean Sea in Toscana, Italy. The tables and chairs inside also have the original design of Kuetani. They’re really brilliant! All the small details are created from marble – grape vines, a pillar representing goddess Venus, bas-relief art. You can have a drink in this artistic café.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in onomichi and also compare the prices with airbnbs in onomichi

It wouldn't be an exaggeration to call Ikuchijima the "art island"

There are many art objects around this island which is also the birthplace of the famous painter Ikuo Hirayama. The entire island looks like one big piece of art.

As for “Miraishin no Oka”, it took Kuetani Itto, the sculptor from Sera town in Hiroshima prefecture, 12 years starting from 1988 to complete the massive garden as a request by Kosanji Museum. He created it with the wish to impress all types of visitors.

Kuetani was an apprentice of the famous Hiroshima-born sculptor Entsuba Katsuzo. You can learn more about Entsuba from the link in the memo below.

Don’t you want to relax in the white marble garden surrounded by Ikuchijima’s beautiful landscape? It really looks like Aegean Sea in Japan.

This article was originally published on Sep 23, 2015

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