Japan temples are a few things that absolutely need to be on your list: enjoying some of sake with the locals, ample time to explore all of Tokyo’s nooks and crannies, and if you are a lady who’s into anime or manga quick visit to the girls-only otaku cafe in Osaka. Then there are the breathtaking temples and shrines you’ll find around every corner in Kyoto.
Each and every temple is special in its own rite—a space for housing sacred objects and worshipping. It’s the places like this where locals and tourists alike gather to partake in a peaceful moment that really catch our eye. In fact, you don’t even need to be in the presence of these stunning pieces of architecture to feel the effects take a few moments to rest your eyes from the daily grind to take in some of Japan’s wonderful sites.
Description By Erika Owen
1. Kiyomizu-dera Temple
This Buddhist temple in Eastern Kyoto is part of a series of monuments in the ancient city that have been dubbed UNESCO World Heritage Sites. For worshippers, Kiyomizu-dera—which translates to “Pure Water Temple”—is the home of the Goddess of Mercy—a symbol that’s been around for more than 1,200 years.
2. The Great Buddha Statue at Kotoku-In Temple
Located in Kamakura in the Kanagawa Prefecture of Japan, Kotoku-In Temple is widely known for “Great Buddha”, a bronze statue that greets people who visit the sacred space. No one knows exactly how old the statue is, but the guess is that it dates to at least 1252. The Great Buddha was preceded by a wooden monument of the same granduer that took 10 years of constant labor to complete. Today’s landmark took its place after being damaged in a storm back in 1248.
3. The Silver Pavilion, Ginkaku-ji Temple
Ginkaku-ji—which is located in Kyoto’s eastern mountain region—was actually a retirement villa before becoming a temple in 1490. The Silver Pavilion was built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1482, who constructed the home to mimic his great-grandfather’s villa (now known as the Golden Pavilion).
4. Sanjusangendo Temple
This beautiful temple in Eastern Kyoto is mostly known for its collection of 1,001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was originally founded in 1164, but rebuilt in 1264 after a fire destroyed the original structure.
5. Rock Garden, Ryoanji Temple
Located in northwest Kyoto, this temple is part of the Myōshin-ji school of the Rinzai branch of Zen Buddhism. Ryoanji Temple, which translates to “The Temple of the Dragon at Peace,” is considered to have one of the most impressive instances of kare-sansui, or dry landscape—a type of Japanese zen garden design.
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