Sunday, May 05, 2013

Nishi Honganji Temple

There are 17 temples and shrines authorized as World Heritage in Kyoto. Nishi-Honganji Temple is one of them.

It is the head temple of Jodo-Shinshu Honganji Sect which was founded by Shinran Shonin.

The huge symbol tree "Great Ginkgo" is about 400 years old, and is in the middle of the precincts of the temple.  There is a legend about this tree:  when the conflagration occurred in 1788, the tree splashed water out of branches and saved Mikage-do Hall and Amida-do Hall from fire.

Many such designs were purposely created in the passage of Amida-do Hall. These were craftsmen's stylish play, when fixing and hiding knotholes and cracks.  Incidentally, Amida-do Hall is 441 tatami mats large, and Mikage-do Hall is 723 tatami mats large!
 (1 tatami = 1.53 Sq. Meters/16.46 Sq. Feet) 

The precinct of the Temple is also very big!

This is a National Treasure "Karamon Gate" which is located on the south of the Temple. Very colorful and brilliant sculpture. 

My main purpose of this time was to see "Shoin" and "Hiunkaku Pavilion" of the Temple.  Although there is no admission fee, I suggest donation (offering) at the Temple.  I made an offering of 1,000 yen, and received the scent of famous "Kungyokudo" as a commemoration.

*Registration by phone is required for the tour.  Duration is one hour; photography is prohibited; guidance is only in Japanese.  Tour has a limited capacity and starts at 2:30 PM. 

Gathering place for the tour is Ryuko-den Hall, and I got these commemorative stamps.

The very first place "Hall of Tigers" has a picture of tigers on the board wall.  I learned for the very first time that, the artist distinguished male and female by the body patterns.  Leopard is actually a female tiger (tigress) and not a leopard!  What an agreeable co-starring!!

Kyoto National Museum is currently exhibiting artworks from those days of Momoyama and early Edo.  (The exhibition ends on May 12.)

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