Have you ever looked closely at the ten yen coin?
If you plan a trip to Uji, you should make a stop at the Byōdō-in Temple. This building was originally built in 998 during the Heian Period. Minamoto no Shigenobu, the Minister of the Left, then inherited this building from his wife, and used it as a rural villa. After his death, the building was bought by a powerful member of the Fujiwara clan and transformed into a Buddhist temple in 1052. In 1053, the Phoenix Hall, was built and is today one of the few wooden structures that survived multiple fires during the civil war in 1336. It is now listed by UNESCO as an important "Historic Monument of Ancient Kyoto".
The Phoenix Hall got its name from the two phoenix statues displayed on the roof. Those statues eventually gave the present name of the temple, Hōō-dō or Phoenix Hall, instead of the original name, Amida-dō. There are three open corridors that lead to the central room, which houses an image of Amida Buddha.
In front of the hall there is a large pond in which you can see the reflection of the building in the water. Many visitors try to capture this reflection with their camera. Byōdō-in Temple is also surrounded by a beautiful garden which is a national-designated historic site. Visitors can also visit the Byōdō-in museum located inside a modern building a short walk away. A number of national treasures are displayed with multilingual information about the history and construction of the temple. There is also a theater with animated puppets that recreates the famous Tale of Genji story.
For an extra 300 yen, visitors can enter the Phoenix Hall as part of a short 20 minutes guided tour only available in Japanese.
Admission from 8:30 to 17:30
Byōdō-in temple is a 10 minute walk from Keihan Uji or JR Uji Stations.
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I studied Japanese culture and language for the past 5 years. After my first year of university, I took some Japanese classes in Japan and also did a homestay in Kanazawa. I felt in love with the country! I then decided to apply for an exchange program for one year to return to Japan. I was able to spent my last year as a exchange student in Osaka. During this year, I travelled a lot around Japan. I met a lot of interesting people and also discovered really nice places. I am going back to Japan for vacations this summer for 5 weeks to celebrate the end of my graduate studies. I can't wait to meet my friends and travel around again!