Byodoin Temple (平等院)

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Byodoin Temple in Uji represents the beauty of Heian Period.

It is a Buddhist temple located in Uji City, south of Kyoto City. It is one of the best preserved national treasures in Japan and a World Heritage Site. (Official WEB site)

Byodoin Temple
Byodoin Temple

Byodoin was built in the south of Heian-kyo during the mid-Heian period. The present site of Byodoin was the location of Uji-den, a villa of Fujiwara no Yorimichi’s father, Michinaga. Yorimichi transformed the villa into a temple, establishing the foundation of Byodoin in 1052.

Byodoin’s greatest attraction is the main hall, known as the Phoenix Hall. Popular name of the main hall is “Ho-o-do” (Phoenix Hall) since the Edo period (1603-1867), because it has wing like corridors on both sides of the central hall and looks like a phoenix spreading its wings. On the back side of the main hall, there is another building called the “tail hall”.

The Phoenix Hall’s architectural style imitates the palace architecture of the Tang Dynasty in China. It’s characterisity is its graceful and unique appearance. In particular, the interior decoration and carvings, as well as the gold-leafed wall paintings of phoenixes, convey the gorgeous and gorgeous beauty of the time.

Byodoin Amida Nyorai stature

On a fine day, the main statue of Amida Nyorai (National treasure) shows its face through the front window. This “Seated Amida Nyorai” statue is the only existing example of “Jocho”, a representative Buddhist sculptor of the Heian period. He created the seated statue of Amida Nyorai around 1053, the Amida Hall (Phoenix Hall) completed in that year.

statue of Amida Nyorai
Statue of Amida Nyorai, Byodoin Temple

Hoshokan Museum

Hoshokan is a museum located on the grounds of Byodoin Temple. There are many important exhibits here, but the must-see items are the temple bell and the statue of Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu, both of which are national treasures.

The temple bell is one of the most beautiful bells in Japan, with its entire surface decorated with delicate reliefs of lions and dancing heavenly figures.

The highlight of the Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu statues is that each has a different expression and is in a different pose, such as playing a musical instrument, dancing, or holding a jointed palm, while riding on a cloud. The Hoshokan exhibits 26 of the 52 remaining statues.

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