Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is home to numerous historic temples and shrines that attract millions of visitors every year. One of the most iconic and picturesque temples in Kyoto is Byodo-in Temple, located in the city of Uji, a short train ride from Kyoto Station.
Temple of Equality and Peace
Byodo-in Temple, which means “Temple of Equality and Peace,” was originally built in 998 AD as a countryside villa for a powerful politician. It was later converted into a temple in 1052 AD by the politician’s son and has since become a symbol of Japanese architecture and culture.
The most famous building in the temple complex is the Phoenix Hall, a national treasure of Japan and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hall is named after the two phoenix statues that adorn its roof and is said to represent the Pure Land Paradise in Buddhist cosmology. The hall is built on a small island in a pond and is surrounded by cherry trees, creating a serene and picturesque scene that is one of the most iconic images of Kyoto.
Visitors can enter the Phoenix Hall
Visitors can enter the Phoenix Hall and see the Amida Buddha statue, which is flanked by two bodhisattva statues. The statues are believed to be some of the finest examples of Heian period Buddhist art and are considered national treasures of Japan.
The temple complex also includes a museum that houses various artifacts related to the temple’s history and the culture of the Heian period. Visitors can see old manuscripts, calligraphy, and artwork related to the temple and its surroundings.
Byodo-in Temple is the use of a special type of lacquer called “urushi”
One of the unique features of Byodo-in Temple is the use of a special type of lacquer called “urushi” in the decoration of its buildings. Urushi is a natural resin that is harvested from trees and has been used in Japanese art and crafts for centuries. The use of urushi in the decoration of the Phoenix Hall and other buildings in the temple complex gives them a unique shine and luster that is not seen in other temples.
In conclusion, Byodo-in Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Kyoto. Its picturesque location, serene atmosphere, and unique architecture make it one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in Japan. Whether you are interested in history, art, or simply looking for a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Byodo-in Temple is the perfect destination.