Sanjusangendo in Kyoto, The 120-meters long building

Sanjusangendo

The 1001 Buddhist Statues Temple in Kyoto

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Sanjusangendo is a Buddhist temple originally named Rengeo-in located in Higashiyama ward in Kyoto. Pictures are forbidden in its long and majestic main wooden hall known for sheltering 1,001 statues of Kannon, the deity of compassion.

There are countless temples worth visiting in the historic capital of Kansai, and among these, Sanjusangendo sometimes sounds like a forgotten one, perhaps because its heart and soul, in other words the statues, can't be taken in photos or videos by any visitor. Yet they are probably one of the most beautiful pieces a neophyte may have the opportunity to admire.

Because the "33 intervals" temple's preserved treasure is a collection of 1,001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of compassion. On both sides of a gigantic and sublime representation of Senju Kannon (Kannon with a thousand arms and eleven heads), ten rows of 100 human scale statues guard the premises. At every interval, a bronze representation of another deity majestically welcomes visitors, who can admire the serenity that emanates from the whole amidst the scent of incense.

Sanjusangendo in Kyoto, Japanese garden in the temple's grounds

Pictures being strictly prohibited, the ones displayed below are only official photos of Sanjusangen-do’s interior from the temple’s website, completed with our pictures shot around the building.

Sanjusangen-do should not be forsaken due to the near impossibility to make astounding pictures, as unforgettable memories are guaranteed. If you go to Kyoto during your trip to Japan, we definitely recommend including this Kannon Temple in your itinerary.

We therefore settled with pictures of the surroundings of Sanjusangen-do, whose building turns out to be the longest wooden construction in Japan, with its 120 meters. The original structure, which dates from 1164, was rebuilt during the 13th century after being destroyed in a fire. At the time, the reconstruction was made on layers of clay and sand to protect it from earthquakes, which still works very well today!

The 1,001 Buddhist statues have been restored over a … 45 years period, starting in 1973 and ending on December 22, 2017! Only 124 statues were salvaged from the 1249 great fire and date back to the Heian period.

⬇️ Further down this page, discover our visit guide in Sanjusangendo and around.
By Kanpai Updated on January 13, 2022 Sanjusangen-do