Exploring Miyajima Island in Japan – 500 Rakan Statues at Daisho-in

Something that I find very special about Japan is their love for small objects and small spaces. I’ve read that this way of thinking comes from their belief of a god living inside every object, but I think there are many more contributing factors. As an avid photographer it means you can spend a lot of time in a small space marvelling over the details, entering a Japanese garden for example can be an enlightening experience as you can find many minutiae that attract your attention. In turn a camera is the perfect tool to find and capture these moments, even if it serves only to inspire oneself and act as a magnifying glass of sorts.

While on a visit to the island of Miyajima, of which is a short boat ride from Hiroshima, I set foot in the temple grounds of Daisho-in. This area has a serene atmosphere, making it a pleasure to wander around the grounds and work your way to the top temple. An area that instantly grabbed my attention was just left of the gate, 500 Rakan Statues that all represent a Buddhist monk who was directly instructed by the Buddha himself. If you look closely you can see a range of expressions on the face of these sculptures, the different emotions can all be felt as you try to understand the meaning of this group as a whole and the beanie style hats that they are wearing.

It’s a fascinating place and I highly recommend visiting yourself if you’re ever on Miyajima. I have to say, Daisho-in being lesser known than the other temples in this area meant it was one of the best experiences I had on this island. Here are some photos of the stairs and statues on the walk up to the temple. Enjoy.

See more photos from my trips to Japan on my personal website →