See some of Kyoto’s oldest and most beautiful Buddhist statues
Kyoto, the ancient capital of japan, is renowned for its rich cultural heritage and historical sites. Among the numerous temples and shrines that dot the city, Koryuji Temple stands out as one of the oldest and most significant. Established in the first part of the seventh century, Koryuji Temple holds a special place in the history of Kyoto and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Koryuji Temple is considered Kyoto’s oldest temple, and its origins can be traced back to the Asuka period. The temple grounds are home to some of the greatest cultural artifacts from the Asuka period to the Kamakura period, making it a treasure trove for history enthusiasts and art lovers.
One of the highlights of a visit to Koryuji Temple is the opportunity to see the beautiful Buddhist statues that are housed within its premises. These statues are not only aesthetically pleasing but also provide a glimpse into the religious and artistic traditions of ancient Japan.
The Kodo hall, a significant structure within the temple, is where the priests read Buddhist scriptures. Built in the 12th century, the Kodo hall is an architectural marvel and is designated by the national government as an Important Cultural Property. Inside the hall, visitors can find a seated figure of Amida-Nyorai Buddha, who presides over Buddhist paradise. This Buddha is a National Treasure, and its presence adds to the spiritual ambiance of the temple.
Adjacent to the Kodo hall is the Reihoden, a building that houses many ancient Buddhist images, paintings, writings, and historical documents. These artifacts have been designated as either National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties, showcasing their historical and artistic significance. Among the notable pieces in the Reihoden is the statue of Miroku-Bosatsu, the Buddha of the future. This statue holds the distinction of being Japan’s first designated National Treasure, receiving the honor in 1951.
Legend has it that Hata no Kawakatsu, the founder of Japanese kagura dance, established Koryuji Temple after receiving the statue of Miroku-Bosatsu from Prince Shotoku. This legend adds a mythical dimension to the temple’s history and highlights its cultural importance.
Aside from its historical and cultural significance, Koryuji Temple also offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Kyoto. A visit in August, when the lotus flowers in the temple pond are in full bloom, is particularly breathtaking. The vibrant colors and delicate petals of the lotus flowers create a serene and picturesque setting, perfect for contemplation and reflection.
In the past, Koryuji Temple traditionally hosted a bull festival to pray for a good harvest and to ward off disturbances within the monastery. However, in recent years, the festival has been held only occasionally. Nevertheless, the temple’s connection to ancient agricultural practices and its role in fostering a sense of community are still celebrated and cherished.
To reach Koryuji Temple, visitors can take the JR San-In line from Kyoto Station to Uzumasa Station. From there, it is a ten-minute walk to the temple. The convenient public transportation options make it easy for tourists to include a visit to Koryuji Temple in their Kyoto itinerary.
In conclusion, Koryuji Temple is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring Kyoto’s rich cultural heritage. As Kyoto’s oldest temple, it offers a glimpse into the city’s ancient past and showcases some of the most beautiful Buddhist statues in Japan. With its historical significance, architectural beauty, and natural surroundings, Koryuji Temple is a true gem that should not be missed.
Address And Maps Location:
32 Hachioka-cho, Uzumasa, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto-fu