Friday, October 5, 2012

Chion-In

One of the many temples in Kyoto, and the first one that I saw in that huge city!

Chion-In (知恩院) is a typical tourist place, no doubt. But aside from that, it is the main temple of the "Jodo-shu school", which is a type of "Amida-buddhism". It had been built in 1234, but most of the original temple compley burnt down 1633, and rebuilt soon after.

So it's less than 500 years old! Surprising, isn't it? After all, it's from history long past. But it shows well how fast Japan has changed during such "small" period of time! But most of the buildings of this temple complex have different dates, and I don't know all of them. But most of what can be seen has been built between the 16th and 17th century.


 This enormous and old, if not ancient, tree is at the right edge, right before the little "plaza" that leads to the gigantic wooden entrance gate.






I would have looked at this tree for hours, but....there was more to discover still! ;)

This is the entrance gate, "San-mon". It's a national treasure of Japan, and the largest wooden gate. It's 24m high, and 50m wide! On the second level there's a Buddha statue enshrined, but I didn't take a look on that one. The gate was built by Hidetada Tokugawa in 1621. And what can I say....it is huge, indeed!







All around the temple grounds, the family crest of the Tokugawa family can be seen!
It's a flower, I think, with 3 petals.

This little "well", usually stands in front of every temple. Before going in, you clean your left hand, then the right hand, then your mouth, and last, the tool itself. As to the why....it's a purification symbol, I guess!







 One of the typical wooden hallways, opened up, no glass or walls...but I really grew to like them. Walking on them without shoes, feeling that old wood below the feet, oh oh....it's a pleasure! 









At one part in the temple, there's a hallway called "Nightingale Hallway" (not the one on the photo). It is called that way because it has been constructed in a special way, so that no one can walk across it without making sounds! With every step, it sounds like the singing of a Nightingale.


 
 These dogs usually are at the entrance of tempel grounds. One of them has a closed mouth, the other one an opend up one. As to the why...I have asked, but no one knew why...."It is that they...because it is!" 





This is a statue of the "Amida Buddha". I'm not really sure on what's special of this Buddha, but that's because....I simply forgot, sorry! 
In front of the Buddha and altar there are "fish-drums",  and when using them, they give a rather interesting, "hollow" sound. Well, too hard to describe, you have to go there yourself to hear!

 The picture on the right is a little example of the Yuzen garden, a very beautiful one indeed! If you could just leave the normal ways and go right in between the grass, hm....
Well, nevertheless, it is simply a beautiful one! I wonder how it looks like in spring or autumn time...









Another example for the nicely arranged landscape of this garden.












Please visit again!
So.....I hope you have enjoyed this tiny virtual visit of Chion-in!



PS.: There are many more photos again, you should take a look!


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