Also known as Hokoku Shrine, a wide open hall and pagoda overlooking central Miyajima and Itsukushima Shrine.
Senjokaku, the pavilion of 1000 mats, was commissioned by shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1587 and was planned as a Buddhist library. However, construction ceased with his death 11 years later, and the building still stands in that state today. Beautifully sparse and rustic at eye-level, it lacks proper ceilings or entrance, and is open to the elements.
However, looking up towards the ceiling reveals a mosaic of paintings of various styles, periods and subjects. The varied images range from Buddhist religious representations to medieval battles, animals and landscapes.
The open space makes it an excellent place to rest and socialise, which has been its purpose for the last 300 years or so. With exceptional views over Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima O-Torii and the town itself, it is particularly pleasant in summer and autumn when the cool sea breeze blows through.
Senjokaku is an interesting location - having originally been enshrined as a Buddhist site, it was changed to a Shinto Shrine in 1872 when it was dedicated to the soul of the founding shogun.
The vermillion five-storied pagoda adjacent predates the hall, having been originally built in 1407.