Byodoin Temple

Phoenix Hall of Byodoin Temple, What Is Often Seen in Coin Purses

 

Byodoin Temple is located in Uji City, Kyoto. It is very famous for its Phoenix Hall that is depicted on the obverse of the 10 yen coin. Look at the picture. The entire shape of the building is beautiful, isn’t it?

the 10 yen coin
the 10 yen coin

The other day, I visited the temple. The weather was fine and I was happy! At the gate, I found Chinese characters for “Byodoin Temple”.

the gate of Byodoin Temple
the gate of Byodoin Temple

 

The admission fee was 600 yen for an adult. Soon after entering the temple, fresh green pine trees are waiting for the visitors, which made me feel relaxed, though I was excited about approaching Phoenix Hall that I see on coins almost every day.

beyond the gate
beyond the gate

 

Phoenix, the Symbol of Happiness

As well as the 10 yen coins, you can find the phoenix on the 10,000 yen notes that have been issued since 2004. Phoenixes are believed to bring happiness to people. Depicted on the 10,000 yen notes, they are floating around, carrying happiness all over Japan. How nice it is!

Phoenix Hall and the 10,000 yen note
Phoenix Hall and the 10,000 yen note

 

Actually, the pair of phoenixe statues on the roof of Phoenix Hall is not what was originally made. Original ones are now in Byodoin Museum Hoshokan for preservation.

the phoenix adorning the roof now
the phoenix adorning the roof now

This is the sign of the museum. You can enter the museum without additional fee. There are many interesting things, including the old phoenixes and National Treasures of Buddhist Statues. I really liked all of them!

the wall of the museum
the wall of the museum

 

 

About Phoenix Hall

Phoenix Hall was built in the Heian Period (794–1185), so I imagined that the aristocracy at the time enjoyed the same view. That is fantastic! It is great to see the beautiful building over the pond, and you can also go inside. The additional fee to enter Phoenix Hall is 300 yen per person.

Phoenix Hall and the 10,000 yen note
Phoenix Hall 1

The building has been designed as a World Heritage Site. It has been repaired several times, and the latest repair was conducted from 2012 to 2014. The sober Phoenix Hall has turned into red, and phoenixes, gold. I hear some people like these vivid colors, and others don’t. Do you like it?

Phoenix Hall 2
Phoenix Hall 2

 

Byodoin Temple and Gokuraku Jodo

The word “Byodo” of “Byodoin Temple” means “equality”, but why is that? Actually that is because Amitabha (known as Amida Nyorai in Japan) has been believed to treat people “equally” and extricate everyone from difficulties. In the Heian Period, Byodoin Temple was regarded as Gokuraku Jodo (Pure Land of Amitabha) that appeared on earth, which means many people came here to pray for peaceful death and rebirth in Gokuraku Jodo. The big statue of Amitabha seated in the center of the Phoenix Hall looks very peaceful and “equitable”.

Amitabha in Phoenix Hall
Amitabha in Phoenix Hall

The back of Phoenix Hall is as majestic as the front. Seeing the building and the bridge beautifully reflected in the water, I thought Gokuraku Jodo would be just like this.

Phoenix Hall from the back
Phoenix Hall from the back

 

Interesting things in and around Byodoin Temple

Look at the picture. The temple bell used to hang there. Now the bell is preserved in Byodoin Museum Hoshokan. You must see it! It is breathtaking.

where the temple bell used to be
where the temple bell used to be

As I was walking in the temple, I noticed the meticulous design of the eave-end roof tiles. It is fun to see the details of the temple. When you visit the temple, try to look for them. Where are they?

the eave-end roof tiles
the eave-end roof tiles

It may be easier to find the dragon head on the roof. It is a little funny, but meaningful because it is rarely seen in Japan. During the latest repair of the temple, they held the exhibition to show things that are usually seen on the roofs. The dragon head was the highlight of the event, and attracted no less than 8,500 people in five days.

the dragon head
the dragon head

When you go to the temple, enjoy high quality green tea. There are many tea houses on the approach to the temple. Tea from Uji City is well known not only in Japan, but also in the world. If you like coffee more than tea, go to Starbucks that will open in the spring in 2017. It will be located close to the temple.

【Byodoin Temple】
116 Uji RengeUji City, Kyoto 
Tel: +81 774-21-2861
URL: http://www.byodoin.or.jp/en/index.html
Garden: 8:30 a.m.―5:30 p.m. (The reception area is closed at 5:15 p.m.)
Museum: 9:00 a.m.―5:00 p.m. (The reception is area closed at 4:45 p.m.)
Admission fee: Audlt 600 yen ( You can enter the Byodoin Temple museum without  additional fee.)

Inside of Hoo-do: 9:10 a.m.―4:10 p.m. (Admission starts at 9:30 a.m. and 50 persons at a time every 20 minutes thereafter.)
Admission fee: Audlt 300 yen