Senjokaku, a hall 1,000 tatami mats in size, is on the top of a hill commanding a view of Itsukushima Shrine. And from down below, the hall and five-story pagoda next to the hall make beautiful scenery from Itsukushima Shrine. Many Japanese visit here as the final destination of their Miyajima tours. They enjoy a nice breeze and view, have a good stretch, and relax on the wide-open wood floor. When I visited here in late November, the surrounding hills and fields were cloaked in autumn colors and a comfortable breeze was blowing through the hall.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), one of Japan's preeminent warrior commanders, ordered the construction of this hall in 1578 for the repose of the war dead. The big hall was for reading thousands of sutras every month. But it wasn’t completed and was left unfinished. About 300 years ago, it was open to the public as a place for people to socialize. In summer they were able to enjoy the cool air. And 150 years ago, all of the temple's Buddha statues were transferred to Daigan-ji Temple; it is now the main hall of Toyokuni Shrine.