Sanjusangen-do Temple, Kyoto

Sanjusangen-do Temple, Kyoto (must see)

The Sanjusangen-do is a Buddhist temple in Kyoto dedicated to the Bodhisattva Sahasrabhuja-arya-avalokiteśvara or the thousand-armed Kannon. The 100-meter long structure is the longest wooden building in Japan.

The temple was built under the orders of Emperor Go-Shirakawa before he retired to lead a religious life in 1164. It is managed by the Tendai sect of Buddhism. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1249 and the present structure was built in 1266. Archery contests are held in the west verandah of the temple from the Edo period. A well-known duel between the warrior Miyamoto and Yoshioka Denshichiro was fought here in 1604.

At the center of the Sanjusangen-do temple is a six-foot-tall statue of the Kannon. The statue dates from 1254 and has eleven faces and a thousand arms. The central statue is surrounded by a thousand life-sized and gold-leaf-covered Kannon statues created by renowned sculptor Tankei in the 12th and 13th centuries. Behind the thousand statues are the figures of the 28 Japanese Deities said to protect the Buddhist universe. The Rite of the Willow is held at the temple every January. Worshippers can get their heads touched with a sacred willow branch to prevent and cure headaches.

Why You Should Visit:
While it may look like many other temples from the outside, the main hall with its 1001 Buddhas is an incredible sight.
They have nice English-speaking volunteer guides, but you can also go in by yourself and get almost the same info from the signs.
The surrounding manicured garden is small but pleasant/peaceful enough, worthy of a 10-15 minute stroll before heading out.

Tip:
Photos are forbidden inside the hall, so buy the cheap guidebook with lovely pictures and text as a memory.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am-5pm (Apr 1 - Nov 15); 9am-4pm (Nov 16 - Mar 31)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour in Kyoto, Japan, in the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded on iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed.

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Sight Map

Sight Name: Sanjusangen-do Temple
Sight Location: Kyoto, Japan
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Higashiyama Area Walking Tour  

Walking Tours in Kyoto, Japan

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Create Your Own Walk in Kyoto

Creating your own self-guided walk in Kyoto is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

Kyoto Museums Walking Tour

Even though Kyoto is famous for its wide variety of religious sites, this city is the home of several museums as well. The majority of them are dedicated to Japanese culture, ranging from history to fashion and the arts. A large number of Kyoto's museums are located in its eastern areas, where the next self-guided tour is about to take you. Check it out and prepare to get an insight into the culture of one of the most powerful and refined nations of the world.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Kita-ku Temples and Shrines Tour

Kita-ku Temples and Shrines Tour

Kita-ku is one of Kyoto's wards, located in the northern part of the city. Kita Ward contains some spectacular religious sites, such as the famous Golden Pavilion and the ancient Daitoku-ji Temple, as well as a museum dedicated to world peace. Find them all selected and described in the next self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 7.6 km
Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Philosopher's Path Area Walk

Tetsugaku no Michi, or Philosopher's Walk, is a well-known route in Kyoto which starts at the famous Ginkaku-ji Temple and heads south to the Nanzen-ji Temple. It follows a stone path by a cherry-tree-lined canal that was once walked daily by Nishida Kitaro, a famous philosopher and professor at Kyoto University. The Philosopher's Walk passes by some major shrines and other places of interest of Kyoto making up this self-guided tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 km
Central Kyoto Walking Tour

Central Kyoto Walking Tour

They say visiting Japan without seeing Kyoto is worthless, because a visit to Japan will never be complete without knowing Kyoto's treasures. A city of tradition, history, and culture, Kyoto has plenty of touristic spots to offer. The next walking tour takes you to the core of Kyoto and the main attractions of the city that are located in its central area. Enjoy!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.4 km
Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku Walking Tour

Ukyo-ku is one of the eleven wards of Kyoto and it comprises the northwestern corner of the city. This area contains a large number of important religious complexes, some of them listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most famous attractions of Ukyo-ku in Kyoto are selected and described in the next walking tour. So check it out and enjoy your Kyoto adventure.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.7 km
Souvenir Shopping Part 1

Souvenir Shopping Part 1

It would be a pity to leave Kyoto without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Kyoto, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.9 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


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