Hokoku Jinja Shrine Senjokaku 豊国神社 千畳閣
Hokoku Jinja Shrine, also called Toyokuni Jinja Shrine, is the biggest building of the island with its "Hall of 1000 mats", or "Senjokaku".
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The Senjokaku was one of my favourite spots of Miyajima, a group of loud Chinese tourists were leaving just as I arrived and I had the place mostly all to myself, the only other people being the women behind the counter and a young man mopping the floor up and down.
Senjokaku receives its name from its size, that of one thousand (sen) tatami mats able to fit in the hall. Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered this hall to be built in 1587 to console the souls of the war dead but it was renamed ‘Hokoku Shrine’ in 1872 and dedicated to the founder of the hall after his death. It now serves as an auxiliary shrine of Itsukushima Jinja.
The place smelled strongly of wood and I especially loved to look at the plenty of pictures on wood hanging from the roof portraying legends and yokai to historical figures. A pile of beautiful old rice scoops were hidden in a corner and the hall was nice and cool in contrast to the sun outside.
In 1587, Toyotomi Hideyoshi ordered this hall to be built for monthly chanting of Buddhist sutras to console the souls of the war dead. The hall is popularly known as Senjokaku or Senjojiki, meaning the Hall of 1000 Tatami mats. Construction of the hall halted upon Toyotomi's death in 1598 and it has remained incomplete.