Kaiganzan Senjyuin Fukuzenji is a small Buddhist temple that sits right next to Tomo Port overlooking the bay of Tomonoura. Seemingly unremarkable on the outside, enter the main hallway and kneel on the tatami mat of the room they call Taichourou, which greets you with a postcard-worthy view: a small pagoda spire on the hilltop of Bentenjima island is set against the rolling greenery of the larger Sensuijima island behind it, all surrounded by the calm blue waters of the Seto Inland Sea.
The scenic beauty of Taichourou - the pavilion facing the sea - made it an especially popular place to receive distinguished guests. One such famous guest who had the chance to stay there was Lee Bang Eun, a Korean envoy from 1711 who proclaimed this view "the most beautiful scenery in East Asia". Indeed, these words live on today in a plaque proudly hung right over the window, reminding you of the fact as you enjoy the view. In 1748, another Korean envoy Hong Kyoung Hae left his calligraphy rendering of the characters for Taichourou which you can also see in the same hallway.
I was lucky to be there on a weekday with no other guests around, and I could take in the view for as long as I pleased. Perhaps it was the appearance of being closed on the outside - it was only when I took off my shoes and approached the sliding doors that I was sure that the temple was open. The staff on site were extremely friendly, offering me an English brochure which explained some of the history of this pavilion. One man even took the time to explain how the position of the rising sun moved in relation to the hills as the seasons changed. Unfortunately, it only opens at 8am, but a sunrise seen from this room must be quite spectacular indeed. Look for an old telescope in the middle of the room that gives you a close up view of the pagoda on Bentenjima.