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Honpukuji Temple– The Water Temple (Mizumido)

A serene Space Enshrines the Buddha of Healing

There is a sacred place in japan that stands out from any other. It is a place of tranquility, beauty, and spirituality. This place is the Honpukuji Temple, also known as the Water Temple, located on Awaji Island. Designed by renowned architect Tadao Ando, this temple is a testament to his unique vision and architectural genius. With its monumental concrete construction and enormous reflecting pond, the Water Temple is unlike any other temple in Japan.

The history of the Honpukuji Temple dates back to the late Heian period. It is a special head sanctuary of the Shingon sect’s Omuro school. However, in 1991, the main hall of the temple was in need of rebuilding. This is when Tadao Ando was called upon to create a new and innovative design. Ando did not follow tradition. Instead, he created a masterpiece of modern architecture.

The main hall of the Water Temple is a massive concrete structure that rises above the surrounding landscape. It is surrounded by verdant hills and overlooks Osaka Bay. The most striking feature of the temple is the enormous reflecting pond that sits on top of the main hall. This pond creates a serene and peaceful atmosphere, reflecting the beauty of the surrounding nature.

To enter the Water Temple is to embark on a spiritual journey. The temple’s unique labyrinth structure leads visitors through a series of spaces, each one designed to inspire introspection and meditation. The centerpiece of the temple is a statue of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine and healing. The statue is enshrined in a specially designed inner sanctum, bathed in a warm glow of vermillion light.

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The design of the Water Temple is a testament to Tadao Ando’s ability to create spaces that blend seamlessly with their natural surroundings. The reflecting pond and the surrounding landscape become one with the temple, creating a harmonious and peaceful environment. This is a place where architecture and nature come together in perfect balance.

Visiting the Water Temple is a sensorial experience like no other. As you walk through the labyrinthine corridors, you are enveloped in a world of light and shadow. The play of light on the concrete walls creates a sense of serenity and tranquility. The sound of water gently flowing in the pond adds to the overall sense of peace and calm.

One of the best times to visit the Water Temple is during sunset. As the sun sets over Osaka Bay, the vermilion color of the inner sanctum becomes more intense. The warm light radiates through a west-facing window, casting a golden glow over the entire temple. It is a truly magical sight to behold.

Another highlight of the Water Temple is the reflecting pool. From May to September, visitors can see waterlilies in bloom. These delicate flowers float on the surface of the pond, creating a beautiful and serene scene. From June to July, the sacred lotuses bloom. These flowers, symbolizing the emergence of Amida Buddha, add a touch of spirituality to the temple grounds.

To reach the Water Temple, one must first travel to Awaji Island. The closest station to the temple is Sannomiya station on the JR Kobe Line. From there, visitors can take the Awaji Loop bus, which runs in a circuit around the north of the island. The bus stops at the Tateishikawa stop, and from there, it is a short 10-minute walk to the temple.

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Awaji Island itself is a paradise. It is the largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, with an area of 592.17 square kilometers. The island is known for its natural beauty and its role as a transit spot between the islands of Honshu and Shikoku. Awaji Island offers stunning views of the surrounding sea and mountains, making it the perfect setting for the Water Temple.

In conclusion, the Honpukuji Temple, or the Water Temple, is a place of beauty, tranquility, and spirituality. Designed by Tadao Ando, this temple stands out from any other in Japan. Its monumental concrete construction and enormous reflecting pond create a unique and awe-inspiring atmosphere. Visiting the Water Temple is a sensorial experience like no other, a journey into a spiritual realm. Surrounded by the beauty of Awaji Island, this temple is a true testament to the power of architecture and nature coming together in perfect harmony.

Address And Maps Location:

1310 Ura, Awaji-shi, Hyogo-ken


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