Byodo-in Temple (Uji)
Byodo-in Temple In Uji, Kyoto Prefecture
Facts & Figures
If you are interested in ancient Japanese architecture, then the Byodo-in Temple is certainly worth a visit. It is often labeled as one of the most beautiful buildings in Japan and is in fact categorized as a Japanese national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Byodo-in Temple is a striking representation of Buddhist Pure Land or Jodo architecture. The large and outstanding beautiful Phoenix Hall (Hoo-do) is one of the only remnants of architecture from the Heian Period, which lasted from 794 to 1185. This region in which the temple is located was popular because it was known to be where the aristocrats and the elites resided to get away from the buzz of Kyoto. Originally, the temple was dedicated to the Buddhist Amitabha, whose philosophy was to welcome every practicing Buddhist to the temple, regardless of which branch of Buddhism the individual practiced. This explains why the temple was given the name Byodo, which means equal in every way. Today, this site is a joint Todo and Tendai temple.
- Byodo-in Temple:
- Opening Hours - 8:30 am to 5:30 pm
- Closed - never, open the whole year
- Admission Fee - 600 yen (Adults) + 300 yen for the Phoenix Hall tour
- Treasure house:
- Opening Hours - 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:45 pm)
- Closed - never, open the whole year
- Admission Fee - see above
The Byodo-in Buddhist temple was established in 1052 CE by a revered regent by the name of Fujiwara no Yorimichi (992 - 1074). He was a respected leader of the Fujiwara Clan, which was one of the most powerful clans as it dominated most of the top governmental posts during the Heian Period (794 - 1185). The temple was built on one of the family estates, which perhaps helps to explain the opulent construction of the temple. The temple’s construction was significant to the local community because it allowed the spread of the Buddhist religion further into the rural communities. During the centuries the temple burned down many times, but luckily the Phoenix Hall was never affected.
Byodo-in Temple is located in Uji, which is south of Kyoto, also known as Heiankyo in the old days.
Address: Renge-116 Uji, Kyoto Prefecture 611-0021
How to get to Byodo-in Temple?
- 20min from Kyoto to Uji Station by JR Nara line and
- 12min from Uji Station to Byodo-in Temple
Sightseeing spots at the temple grounds
Kannon-do Hall - The hall is known for its eleven-faced wooden statue.
Phoenix Hall - The building, constructed in 1053, is 47 metres in length and 13.5 metres tall. The Phoenix Hall faces the east, traditionally the direction of Amida’s Pure Land paradise. The Phoenix Hall became a model for many subsequent Amida temples and Pure Land gardens across Japan.
Statue of Amida Nyorai - Within the Phoenix Hall you will find this massive 2.4 metres high wood statue. It is surrounded by sculptures of 52 of his followers.
Treasure house - The house is constructed mostly underground and full of designated important cultural properties and national treasures. You will also get information about the temples history.
Jodo-Shiki teien - It is a typical Pure Land garden that consists of Amida-do (Ho'o-do) hall and a pond. The garden is one of the only few in the world which has managed to maintain its immaculate condition.
Festival & Events in Uji(dates can change without notice)
Uji Fireworks Festival (middle of August)
You will have the best view from the Furitsu Uji Park. Enjoy more than 7000 fireworks with 70 different shots will lighten up the clear sky.
Uji Tea Festival (first Sunday in October)
The Uji Tea Festival is held for over 80 years. The reason for the festival is to pray for the continued prosperity of Ujicha and to celebrate the three great men who introduced and developed the tea industry of Uji. They are Zen Master Eisai who brought the first tea seeds from China, High Priest Myoe who planted the seeds at Uji and Rikyu Sen who pursued the art of tea ceremony.
Where to stay in Uji near Byodo-in Temple?
My 100 Best Moments in Japan
I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.