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Kyoto Quest : Byodoin Temple (平等院) in Uji

Overview of Byodoin(平等院) Temple

Byodoin Temple was built by the Regent, Fujiwara no Yorimichi, by rebuilding the villa of Michinaga, his father in 1052. In 1053, the following year, Amidado(Amitabha Hall) was built, where Amitabha Tathagata is enshrined, and is now called Hoo-do(Phoenix Hall). It is an elegant and ornate structure, in the image of the Palace in Jodo, depicted in Buddhist scriptures.
The garden has been designated a National Historic Site and Place of Scenic Beauty incorporating the Jodo style of “borrowed landscape” or classic Heian period garden that includes, well-groomed wave sand patterns, flat bridge and arched bridge now improved around the Hoo-do(Phoenix Hall).
In addition, in Byodoin Temple, many cultural artifacts have been passed down from the Heian Period, including the Painting of Dissent of Amitabha in Yamato-e style, a temple bell, and a pair of phoenix statues. In particular, the 52 bodies of Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu(Buddhist Saints holding a mass in the clouds) are the only surviving Buddha statues from the 11th century carved of a free but delicate nature, riding in the clouds and playing a variety of musical instruments.

byodoin temple

Phoenix Hall (鳳凰堂)

Phoenix Hall (鳳凰堂)

Phoenix Hall, modeled after the palace in the Land of Happiness, features unique architecture and consists of the Chudo(central hall), left and right wing corridors, and a tail corridor. Inside, there is a collection of Pure Land(Jodo) Buddhism sect art from the Heian Period, including a seated statue of Amitabha Tathagata, the only existing Buddhist image confirmed to have been made by Jocho, a sculptor representative of the Heian Period. Phoenix Hall is also home to 52 statues of Worshiping Bodhisattvas on Clouds and to wall and door paintings that depict Amida’s nine grades of descent.
(At present, 26 statues of Worshiping Bodhisattvas on Clouds on display at the Hoshokan.)

phoenix

phoenix

Phoenix

 

Hoshokan (鳳翔館)

The Hoshokan is a museum that exhibits various treasures from Byodoin, including a Buddhist Temple-Bell, the pair of Phoenixes, and the 26 statues of Worshiping Bodhisattvas on Clouds. The museum also uses computer graphics to provide virtual exhibitions and is equipped with a reference system that allows convenient access to ultra-high-resolution images of Phoenix Hall.

 

National Treasures of Byodoin

  • Phoenix Hall (central building, two wing corridors, and tail corridors)
  • Seated Statue of Amitabha Tathagata
  • 52 wooden Worshiping Bodhisattvas on Clouds
  • Wooden canopy
  • Duo of Phoenixes
  • Temple bell
  • 14 paintings on wooden doors

Photography of all Buddha is prohibited.

 

Tips

The Phoenix Hall is depicted on the obverse side of the Japanese ten yen coin.
Also, the phoenix statue of the Hall is the phoenix featured on the back side of the ten-thousand yen note.

10JPY

Japanese 10 yen coin

 

■Information■
Admission hours : 8:30〜17:30
(Visitors are requested to enter before 17:15)
116 Ujirenge Uji city, Kyoto
Tel : 0774-21-2861 (+81 (0) 774 212861)
http://www.byodoin.or.jp/english.html(Eng)

 

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ebata

A Japanese born in Osaka, now living in Okayama.

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