by Kieran August. 06, 2008 1879 views

Byodoin is a temple in Uji (a place famous for it's green tea among other things..) The temple was established by a man called Fujiwara Yorimichi in 1052, and a main building, known as the phoenix hall, was built a year later to house a buddhist statue called ‘Amitabha Tathagata’ which is a national treasure. The landscaped garden and temple buildings that make up the temple grounds have been designated a historic site and place of scenic beauty. It truly is a lovely place. Below you can see the main building, the phoenix hall.

The temple is quite an important building culturally for Japan, and they even have its image engraved onto the reverse side of their 10 yen coin!

The phoenix hall again. Unfortunately I didn't visit at a very good time to photograph it.. Morning is best because the rising sun lights the front and the reflections from the water are softer. Unfortunately here the front is in shadow as the sun is above, meaning the sky is very bright in contrast too which was rather difficult to correct!

The building was originally lacquered in bright red vermilion, but that has long since worn off along with many of the other paintings and similar decorations inside. The shapes carved into the stonework have survived far better and there are all sorts of things to spot on the roofing tiles and supports and ends.

A trace of red still remains if you look closely at the woodwork, but I think it looks even nicer and far more subtle and beautiful now than it ever would have done in the bright red finish it sported when it was first built.

The reason why the building is called the Phoenix hall is because it has a pair of the birds perching on the roof, one at each end. The statues themselves are also national treasures.

And here are the phoenixes a little closer up…

To walk to the central hall where the giant Buddha statue is housed you have to cross over the pond using this curved red bridge then walk under the wings of the building which are raised on stilts above ground…

A beautiful floating structure… This building is the only one on the temple site that remains from the time the temple was founded in 1053. The rest of the buildings making up the compound were burnt down during a civil war in 1336.

Bridge reflections…

  Be the first to like this post
Join the conversation
Be the first one to comment on this post!