There are lots of Temples in Kyoto but this is one of my favorites.

The SANJUSANGENDO was originally built by the Emperor Goshirakawa (1126-91) in 1164.

It burnt down and was rebuilt in 1266.

It is located 15 minutes walk from the East exit of Kyoto Station,

some buses from the station stop there as well.

I arrived there early in the morning, just before opening time.

It’s a very famous temple which all the tourist buses stop at,

so I expected huge crowds as I had seen at other temples,  but there was no one.

kyoto sanjusangendo gate

SANJU SANGEN DO, the Hall of the 33 Bays,

is named from the 33 spaces between the 35 pillars found in the hall.

It is 118m long by 18m wide.

Thirty-three is also the number of the manifestations of Kannon,

the Buddhist ‘goddess’ of mercy to whom this Tendai sect temple is dedicated.

kyoto sanjusangendo length

I walked through the garden, to the sound of my feet on the white stones,  it was so quiet… Zen moment.

Inside, a golden statue of the 1000 armed Kannon (Japan’s National Treasure),

carved by Tankei (1173-1256) in 1254, is enshrined in the middle of the hall.

It is surrounded by 1000 smaller golden statues of Kannon (Japan’s important cultural properties),

and the statues of the 28 guardians of Buddhism, Fuujin (God of wind), and Raijin (God of lightning)

(those 30 statues are Japan’s National treasures as well).

kyoto sanjusangendo sensyu kannon     kyoto sanjusangendo 1000 kannons  These 2 photos from


Each of the Kannons are unique, with different body lines, different faces,

some are with animals, some are with birds.

Walking through the hall in perfect silence surrounded by 1031 sacred statues…

was such a special experience.



SANJUSANGENDO website  (Only in Japanese but lots of  beautiful photos of statues are there)

ADDRESS :     657 Sanjusangendo Mawari-cho, Higashiyama, Kyoto

TEL :                075-561-0467

HOURS :         16th Nov – 31st March   9:00-16:00.      1st Apr – 15th Nov   8:00-17:00

FEE:                 Adult 600Yen,  Junior(13-18years old) 400Yen,  Child 300Yen,

BUSES:            Kyoto City Bus 100, 206, and 208, to bus stop “Hakubutsukan Sanjusangendo mae”.


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