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NIPPONIA No.30 September 15, 2004
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Special Feature*
A Stroll through the Higashiyama District
The eastern part of Kyoto stretches toward a low, gently sloping mountain range called Higashiyama. At the foot of these mountains stand a number of imposing temples, including Kiyomizu-dera, the Temple of the Silver Pavilion, and Sanjusangendo. The area also has a number of shrines, famous historical sites, and places of natural beauty, all well worth a visit. Once you come, you will want to stroll about, savoring every moment.
Written by Sakagami Yasuko, Photos by Yamamoto Kenzo and Omori Hiroyuki
Other photo credits: Sekai Bunka Photo
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Kiyomizu-dera Temple
The most visited temple in Kyoto. Founded in 798, soon after the capital was moved to this area. The main hall shown in the photo was reconstructed in 1633. The large open veranda-like space, called Kiyomizu no Butai, offers a good view of the city. The building rests on pillars made from zelkova wood, with some of them rising more than 10 meters from the base of the nearby cliff. The open space was built as a stage for performances, and the saying, Kiyomizu no butai kara tobi-oriru ("jumping off the Kiyomizu stage") means making an important life-changing decision.
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Kiyomizu-dera Temple 600373


Sanjusangendo
Sanjusangendo 280180
This temple was originally built in 1164 by the ruler Taira no Kiyomori, on the order of the retired emperor Go-Shirakawa. Its name comes from the 33 (sanjusan) bays (ken) between pillars. The temple is long and narrow, laid out north-south, and with a length of 125 meters it is the longest wooden building in the world. The main statue is in the middle of the hall. To the left and right of the main statue are 10 rows of gilded, "thousand-armed" statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The rows are arranged in tiers, each of the 10 tiers having 50 statues on the left of the main statue and another 50 on the right. This makes a total of 1,001 statues—a truly amazing sight bound to impress any visitor. One of Kyoto's must-see tourist spots.
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