The temple was originally built in 1164 by the order of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, but it was destroyed by fire during the Onin War in the late 15th century. The temple was rebuilt in 1266 by the order of Emperor Go-Uda, and it has been an important cultural and religious site ever since.
One of the main attractions of Sanjusangendo Temple is its long wooden hall, which is said to be the longest wooden structure in Japan. The hall is approximately 120 meters long and contains 33 bays, hence its name Sanjusangendo, which means “33 intervals.” The hall is a designated National Treasure and is known for its unique and elegant design.
The hall is also home to the 1001 statues of Kannon, which are arranged in 10 rows and flanked by 28 other statues of guardian deities. The statues are made of Japanese cypress and are covered in gold leaf. The main statue of Kannon, which sits in the center of the hall, is a towering figure that stands over 11 meters tall. It is said to be the tallest wooden statue in Japan and is also a designated National Treasure.
In addition to the hall and the statues, Sanjusangendo Temple also has a beautiful garden that is worth visiting. The garden features a pond, a waterfall, and several small shrines and statues. Visitors can walk along the winding paths and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Sanjusangendo Temple is open to the public and is a popular tourist destination in Kyoto. The temple is located in the Higashiyama district, which is known for its historic buildings and traditional atmosphere. Visitors can easily reach the temple by bus or train, and there are several other famous temples and shrines nearby, including Kiyomizudera Temple and Yasaka Shrine.
In conclusion, Sanjusangendo Temple is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in Japanese culture and history. Its impressive architecture, beautiful statues, and peaceful gardens make it a truly special place to visit.