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Sanjusangendo (Rengeo-in)

Listed under Temples in Kyoto, Japan.

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1001 cypress wood statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy fill this huge wooden hall, one huge seated Kannon in the centre flanked by 500 person sized statues on each side. The main Kannon has one thousand arms (supposedly) and 11 faces while the smaller versions have only 40 arms each, and are covered in gold leaf.

Behind the main Kannon are 28 other Japanese deities and two temple guardian statues, the gods of wind and thunder. Founded in 1164 the original hall burnt down, the rebuilt version dates from the middle of the thirteenth century and the statues themselves are from the 12th and 13th Centuries, the large single statue was made around the same time as the current hall. It’s proper name is Rengeo-in, Sanjusangendo means hall with 33 bays (named for the number of spaces between the halls pillars.).

Written by  World Reviewer Staff.

Comments, reviews and questions by other travellers

Sanjosangendo Temple

The Sanjosangendo Temple with its 1001 life-sized statues of Buddha is the next stop. As per the guide these statues are not the Buddha but of the Kannon, the half-enlightened ones. Buddha, the fully enlightened one can be found sitting on a lotus in the middle of the hall. These statue are made of Japanese cypress woods with gold leaf coating. The temple was burned down in a fire in the 13th century. Less than 2% of the original statues remain. The others are reconstructions. In front of these statues are 28 life-sized statues of guardian deities. All these deities are from the Hindu religion but their functions and descriptions seem to be very different. The main hall is the longest wooden structure in Japan.

Photography is strictly forbidden and so is speaking too loudly.

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