Oct 22, 2018 Art Onomichi

Explore the Hill of Hope at Kosanji Temple, Onomichi

#Art ,#Art Museum ,#Attraction ,#Park&Garden ,#temple

What is “The Hill of Hope”?

Photo Credit: Kosanji Museum


The Hill of Hope (Miraishin no Oka) is a white marble garden set against the backdrop of a blue sky which is located at Kosanji Museum in Setoda-cho, Onomichi City.

Kosanji Temple was initially built by the first chief priest Kouzanji Kouzou as a show of his gratitude towards his mother. The construction process took more than 30 years from 1936 before it became the dignified-looking temple it is today.

The red main hall is modeled after Byodo-in’s Hoodo Pavilion (Phoenix Hall) in Uji which is known for its bilateral symmetrical structure. Other than this amazing structure, the white marble garden stands out in its own way within the temple’s premises.

Sculptor Kuetani Ittou

Due to the use of white marble in The Hill of Hope, it will inevitably bring to mind the image of a Greek temple.

Sculptor Kuetani Ittou from Hiroshima Prefecture designed and constructed this garden which was opened to the public in October 2000. Kuetani, who is based in Italy, got white marble mined entirely from Carrara, Italy, where his atelier is at.

It was then used in the construction of this garden measuring 5,000 square meters. The marble monuments in the garden are all distinct and their placement was decided on the concept of balance and harmony with the surrounding sights.

The Route to the Hill of Hope

The Hill of Hope is located within the premises of Kouzanji Museum (Kouzanji Temple) so the first place you should go through will be this bright-colored main gate.

Within the grounds, you can see the Arhat Hall, a lotus pond garden etc. Once you climb up the stairs, it will lead to the five-tiered pagoda, the Filial Duty Gate and the main hall.

This is Kouzanji Temple’s main hall which is decked in rich and vibrant colors. Facing it directly is the rites platform made of marble.

From the left of the main hall, you can head towards the back where you can see the entrance to The Hill of Hope. There is a huge statute of the Goddess of Mercy nearby so you can look out for this as a reference point when trying to figure where to go.

You can come up to The Hill of Hope either via the escalator or stairs.

The Sculptures Within the Garden

There are sculptures of various shapes and sizes in the garden. Although they may seem unrelated to the temple on the surface, every monument, path and the garden itself are based on the concept of Twelve Deity Protectors of Buddhism.

Just like how it’s like in a Greek temple, you will be able to understand what each of the monuments represents and means by checking the explanatory plates.

The Tower of Light

Photo Credit: Kouzanji Museum

At the highest point of the hill is the Tower of Light (Hope) based on the motif of Aditra and represents the gesture of joining hands in prayer facing the setting sun in the west. There are many tourists who take photos under this tower.

The Seat of Calmness and Power

At the back of the Tower of Light is a stack of square marble rocks arranged based on the motifs of Brahma and Prthivi. As this is a monument, there are other places within the garden for you to take a seat so you can make use of the many benches around.

Celestial Cat

This monument features a cat showing its face between long towers which is based on the motif of Vayu i.e. a cat looking at the moon. Although you won’t be able to see this during the garden’s operation hours, the cat must surely be glancing towards the moon when night falls.

Although I only introduced a few of the attractions here, there is more for you to explore so you should come by and see these sculptures personally and ponder over what they represent.

The Scenery from the Garden

Photo Credit: Kouzanji Museum

As The Hill of Hope is located on a slightly high place, you will be able to see the sights of Shimanami and the abundant nature of Setoda at a glance.

Café Cuore

If you are tired from the walking, take a tea break at Café Cuore which is also made of marble and designed by Kuetani. The menu consists mainly of drinks and you can get a good view of the garden and the sea from the café’s windows. Do check out the Venus sculpture on the café’s pillars as well while you are here!

Facility Information

Kouzanji Museum – The Hill of Hope
Address 553-2, Setoda, Setoda-cho, Onomichi City (map)
Closest Station JR Onomichi Station
Open 9:00am – 5:00pm
*Chou Sei Kaku only: 10:00am – 4:00pm
Closed Open all year
Website Official Website
Entrance Fee Adult: ¥1,400
University Student: ¥1,000
High School Student: ¥800
Senior (65 or older): ¥1,200
Child : Free
*For Group Admission Fee Check HERE.


How to Access from Hiroshima City

Train + Bus

Fare: ¥2,500      Time: 2h25mins      Transfers: 1

Hiroshima Station

Onomichi Station
JR Sanyo Line

Kosanji Temple
Onomichi Bus

Train + Ferry

Fare: ¥2,520      Time: 2hrs      Transfers: 1

Hiroshima Station

Mihara Station
JR Sanyo Line

Mihara Port
Walk (5mins)

Setoda Port
Express Ferry (25mins) ¥1,200
Kosanji Temple Walk (10mins)


Bullet Train + Ferry

Fare: ¥2,520      Time: 1h10mins      Transfers: 1

Hiroshima Station

Mihara Station
JR Shinkansen
¥ 2,290

Mihara Port
Walk (5mins)

Setoda Port
Express Ferry (25mins) ¥1,200
Kosanji Temple Walk (10mins)

As The Hill of Hope features white marble and the surrounding nature, it has a European atmosphere although its monuments are related to Buddhism. This is definitely a must-visit spot for photography lovers when you travel to Shimanami.