Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kyoto Temples and Shrines - The World Heritage Sites

Kyoto: the Old Capital of Japan

Kinkaku-ji Temple

Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. The Golden Pavilion is World Heritage listed and surround by beautiful gardens. The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune. In 1397, it was purchased from the Saionjis by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes. The Golden Pavilion met with two disaters till date , one was during the Onin war, when all of the buildings in the complex aside from the paill dion were burned down. On July 2, 1950, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken The present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt. The pavilion is three stories high, approximately 12.5 meters in height. The pavilion successfully incorporates three distinct styles of architecture which are shinden, samurai, and zen, specifically on each floor. 

he Statues of the Shaka Buddha (historical Buddha) and Yoshimitsu are stored in the first floor.The building is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament. The Golden Pavilion is set in a magnificent Japanese strolling garden , kaiyū-shiki-teien The pavilion extends over a pond, called Kyōko-chi (, Mirror Pond?), that reflects the building. The pond contains 10 smaller islands. The zen typology is seen through the rock composition, the bridges, and plants are arranged in a specific way to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature. Vantage points and focal points are established because of the strategic placement of the pavilion to view the gardens surrounding the pavilion. A small fishing deck (, tsuri-dono) is attached to the rear of the pavilion building, allowing a small boat to be moored under it.

Continuing through the garden takes you to the Sekkatei Teahouse. and Fudo Hall, a small temple hall which houses a statue of Fudo Myoo, one of the Five Wisdom Kings and protector of Buddhism.

Kinkakuji can be accessed from Kyoto Station city bus number 101 or 205 .It is 40 minutes and for 220 yen. It can also to reached by taking the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station.

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00

Closed: No closing days

Admission: 400 yen


Ginkaku-ji - Silver Pavilion KyotoJapan. Ginkaku-ji ,the "Temple of the Silver Pavilion," is a Zen temple that was bulit in 1482, by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa as his retirement villa, at Sakyo ward, Kyoto. The Silver Pavilion is one of the highlights of any visit to Kyoto. Ginkaku-ji - Silver Pavilion was built in the style of the Golden Pavilion, which was the same house of Ashikaga Yoshimasa`s grandfather, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
During the Ōnin War, construction of the villa was halted. Despite Yoshimasa's intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never realized before Yoshimasa's death. The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it.
Having retired to the villa, it is said Yoshimasa sat in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens as the Ōnin War worsened and Kyoto was burned to the ground.
In 1485, Yoshimasa became a Zen Buddhist monk. After his death on January 27, 1490 the villa and gardens became a Buddhist temple complex, renamed Jishō-ji after Yoshimasa's Buddhist name.
the pavilion's two stories are constructed in two different architecture styles and contain a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy
The sand garden of Ginkaku-ji known as the "Sea of Silver Sand", with a massive sand cone named "Moon Viewing Platform"is well known; for its carefully formed pile of sand which is said to symbolize Mount Fuji.The pavilion's two stories are constructed in two different architecture styles and contain a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy
Besides the garden stands the Hondo (main hall), which displays paintings on its sliding doors (fusuma) . Next to this hall stands the Togudo (temple building) . The visitors then can walk through Ginkakuji's moss garden, which features ponds with islands and bridges over little streams. The path climbs over a hill from where there are magnificient views of the entire temple grounds and the city beyond.

Ginkakuji can be accessed by bus number 5, 17 or 100 from Kyoto Station. Alternatively, you can reach Ginkakuji by foot along the Philosopher's Path from Nanzenji in about 30-45 minutes.
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:30 from December to February)
Closed: No closing days.
Admission: 500 yen

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace was the residence of the Imperial family until the capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. The ancient Imperial Palace clearly shows the Japanese taste for purity, simplicity and calmness. The Palace Grounds include a number of buildings, along with the Imperial Residence, or dairi. The neighboring building to the north is the sentō , or residence of the retired Emperor. The main building on the Palace Grounds includes, among other halls, the Shishinden (Hall for State Ceremonies), Seiryōden ( refreshing hall), Kogosho (Court Room), Ogakumonsho (Imperial Study or Library), and a number of residences for the Empress, high-ranking aristocrats and government officials. The Shishinden was used for imporatnt ceremonies like, the coronation of an Emperor and installation of a Crown Prince. It is 33 by 23 metres in size, depicting a traditional architectural style. The Throne, called takamikura is placed on an octagonal dais, five metres above the floor, and could be separated from the rest of the room by a curtain. The sliding door that hide the Emperor from view is called kenjō no shōji, and has an image of 32 Chinese saints painted upon it.
The palace entrance has the main stairways, on either side of which are planted cherry (sakura) and a tachibana tree. The Imperial Palace Park serves as recreational space for both tourists and residents and features attractive, broad gravel paths with lawns and tree groves.
The palace grounds can be entered only on guided tours held by the Imperial Household Agency .Kyoto Imperial Palace is a ten minute subway ride from Kyoto Station along the Karasuma Subway Line to Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station .

Access: Free tours are held several times daily. No tours are held on Sundays and national holidays. Most Saturdays are also unavailable. To book a tour, you need to apply in advance with your passport at the Imperial Household Agency Office in the northwestern corner of Kyoto Imperial Park. Reservations are often possible for the same day. The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:45 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00.

Heian Jingu

Heian Jingu is a Shinto Shrine located in Sakyo ward of Kyoto. It is mainly dedicated to the two great emperor of Japan, Emperor Kammu ,the founder and the ancestral god of Kyoto who promoted the transfer of the capital to Kyoto, and Emperor Komei, the last Emperor of the Heian Capital in Kyoto .Heian Jingu is famous for having the largest torii in Japan. The shrine was constructed as a monument to the period of more than 1,000 years during which Kyoto prospered as the nation's capital, and as a symbol of the spirit behind the restoration of Kyoto. Heian Jingu is famous for having the largest torii in Japan.The main building, or shaden, is designed to imitate the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
The Shin`en garden of Heian Jingu is a fascinating experience of the traditional Japanese gardens. The Shin'en consists of four gardens , the Nishi Shin'en (West Garden) , Minami Shin'en (South Garden) , Naka Shin'en (Middle Garden) , Higashi Shin'en (East Garden) surrounding the main shrine buildings. The quiet pond Byakko-ike , the tea ceremony arbor called Choshin-tei located in the cluster of trees , deep pink blossoms of drooping cherry treesin spring, Japanese bush clover in autumn, Soryu-ike pond which features the Garyu-kyo, a walkway consisting of stone pillars and the Higashiyama hills as background scenery against two elegant old-style buidings - the Taihei-kaku and the Shobi-kan gives the gardens an ethereal beauty. Covering a total area of approximateley 33,000 square meters, these stroll-style landscape gardens are designated as a national scenic spot representative of Meijiera .

Sanjusangendo Temple

Sanjusangendo Temple is located in Kyoto, Japan. Sanjusangendo Temple is famous for the Thousand Armed Kannon it houses. Sanjūsangen- is a Buddhist temple in Higashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan. And is officially known as "Rengeō-in", or Hall of the Lotus King. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire. That structure has remained unchanged for 700 years since then with four great renovations during that time. 

The name Sanjusangendo The temple hall, which is about 120 metres long, is Japan's longest wooden structure. (literally "33 intervals") derives from the number of intervals between the building's support columns, a traditional method of measuring the size of a building. In the center of the main hall sits a large, wooden statue of a 1000-armed Kannon (Senju Kannon) that is flanked on each side by 500 statues of human sized 1000-armed Kannon standing in ten rows. The images are made of Japanese cypress. Among the standing statues, 124 were carved in the 12th century when the temple was founded, and the remaining 876 were made in the 13th century when the temple was renovated. Together they make for an awesome sight. Other objects of note at the temple are the roofed earthen fence and South Gate, which are registered as Important Cultural Properties.

Sanjusangendo is five minute walk from Shichijo Station along the Keihan Line.
Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 from November 16 to March 31)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 600 yen


Kiyomizu-dera ,officially know as Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. Kamigamo Shrine was founded in 798 and is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is a World Heritage Site. There is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the Otowa Waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water. The water that divides into different streams is consumed by visitors for different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The visitors get a picturesque view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below and with the illumination at night during the spring and fall it looks like a sea of colours. The mail hall contains a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand armed Kannon.

Jishu Shrine here, is the one dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. It is believed that anybody who finds their way, with their eyes close, between the stones placed in front of the shrine will have a successful love life. The temple also has a number of other temple buildings and a vermilion three storied pagoda, a repository for sutras, large entrance gates and the Zuigudo Hall which is dedicated to Buddha's mother.

Kiyomizudera is about a 20 minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line.
Hours: 6:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 300 yen
Spring and Fall Illumination
Hours: 18:30 to 21:30 (mid March to mid April and mid November to early December)
Admission: 400 yen

Nijo Castle

Nijō Castle is a flatland castle located in Kyoto, Japan. It was the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun. The castle was built in 1603 and is noted for the contrast of its solemn appearance and gorgeous interiors.The castle consists of two concentric rings of fortifications, the Ninomaru Palace, the ruins of the Honmaru Palace. Also it is surrounded by various support buildings and several gardens. The palace displays a fantastic architectural style of late Edo period. One of the most striking features of the Ninomaru Palace are the "nightingale floors" (uguisubari) in the corridors. To protect the palace dwellers from sneak attacks and assassins, the floors of the corridors were constructed in such a way as to squeak like birds when anyone walked on them. The palace rooms are made of tatami mat and feature elegantly decorated ceilings. The sliding doors (fusuma) and walls of each room are decorated with wall paintings. The decorations include lavish quantities of gold leaf and elaborate wood carvings, intended to impress visitors with the power and wealth of the shoguns. The castle gardens are lined with groves of cherry and Japanese plum trees. The garden has a large pond with three islands and features numerous carefully placed stones and topiary pine trees.The Seiryuen,is a half Japanese, half Western style garden built in 1965 for cultural events such as tea ceremonies. Many areas of the castle grounds are also populated by maple, ginkgo and other trees that offer brilliant autumn colors usually during the second half of November.
From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Line to Nijojo-mae Station
Hours: 8:45 to 17:00 (entry until 16:00)
Closed: Tuesdays in Jan, Jul, Aug and Dec (or following Wed if Tue is a national holiday)
December 26 to January 4
Admission: 600 yen

Kyoto shrines and Temples Sightseeing Map

Kamigamo Shrine

Kamigamo Shrine Kyoto - Kamigamo Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is a World Heritage Site.

Fushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is a shinto jinja (shrine)

Kyoto Photos

You Might Like

You Might want to check Photos !!

Matsushima 260 Island Sightseeing Photos and Wallpapers

Gunkanjima Warship Island Sightseeing photos, Nagazaki, Japan

Sakurajima Volcanic Island, Kagoshima, Japan

Himeji Castle : UNESCO World Heritage, Hyogo, Japan

Hiroshima Castle Photos, Japan

Universal Studios Osaka, Japan

Tokyo Tower and Zojoji Temple, Japan

Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

Momijidani Suspension Bridge, Nasushiobara, Tochigi

Tenman-gū Shrine Dazaifu, Fukuoka, Japan : Founded AD 905

1 comment:

  1. Symbol of old japan capital, most popular pace in Japan