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Kansai | Kyoto | Uji

Byodoin Temple

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Byodoin Temple

The Byodoin Temple was built by Fujiwara Yorimichi, the Chief Adviser to the Emperor, in 1053. It was originally a rural villa owned by his father. Yorimichi built the temple in response to the prevalent fear that a dark age was about to dawn, and Buddhism would soon disappear. Byodoin Temple buildings were repeatedly lost to fires and other calamities over the centuries; however, the Phoenix Hall was never destroyed, making it one of the few original wooden structures to survive from the Heian Period. Visitors to Byodoin can enter the Phoenix Hall on short guided tours (in Japanese) that start every 20 minutes and cost an additional 300 yen. It houses a statue of the Amida Buddha. The temple’s unique treasure house is constructed mostly underground to not distract from the Phoenix Hall. It exhibits an assortment of the temple's most valuable artifacts, including dozens of designated important cultural properties and national treasures. The treasure house also contains informative, multilingual displays on Byodoin's construction and history.