Byodo-In is unique. It is revered in Japan, so much that it appears on the back of the ten yen coin. The ho-o, or phoenix, from it’s roof, appears on the back of the 10,000 yen bank note. It is a National Treasure, and is on the UNESCO list of World Cultural Heritage Sites.
The Ho-o-do (Phoenix Hall), the main temple hall, is built in a shape reminiscent of a bird, the mythical phoenix. Two bronze phoenix sculptures sit on its rooftop. Attached to the sides of the main hall are two wing-like structures, and a smaller tail-like section extends towards the back. It sits facing a pond, which reflects the bird-like image of the expansive, open structure.
The temple was first built as a villa for Minamoto no Shigenobu, a governmental minister, in 998. In 1052, Byodo-In became a Buddhist temple. The original site had many more buildings than can be seen today. Most of the buildings were destroyed by fire in a war in 1336. The Ho-o-do was the only building to survive the fire that is still standing, today. It is one of the oldest examples of Heian architecture in Kyoto.
Statues and Artifacts
Inside the Ho-o-do is a three-meter tall, sitting Buddha statue, the Amida-Nyorai Buddha, made from cypress wood covered with gold leaf. The statue itself is a National Treasure. A modern museum building holds many National Treasures. 52 wooden Bodhisattva statues can be seen there, along with other artifacts from the temple.
Getting to Byodo-In Temple
JR Nara Line Uji Station
Walk 10 minutes
Keihan Railway Uji Line Uji Station
Walk 10 minutes
Hours: 8:30 – 17:30 (No admission after 17:15)
Open all year
Entrance Fees: (Special fee until Mar 31, 2014 while the “Phoenix Hall” (Ho-o-do) is closed for restoration.)
Adults 300 yen
Junior High School Students 200 yen
Elementary School Students 150 yen
Regular Admission Fee: 600 yen
116 Uji-renge, Uji City, Kyoto