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Sanjusangendo Temple

This temple is the famous site where thousands of hand-carved deities from the 13th century flank the longest wooden building in Japan.

Sanjusangendo Temple is a Japanese gem known for its multiple statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It contains the longest wooden hall in the country, where the carved figures stand. Its grounds evoke tranquility among its organized buildings. As the historic site of dueling swordsmen, archery and fires, the Sanjusangen Temple attracts both regular tourists and those with a real interest in history. This is a place to marvel at the ingenuity of Japanese sculptors from ancient times.

Walk across the main hall, which is Japan’s longest wooden structure at 395 feet (120 meters). The complex takes it name from the number of intervals between the columns supporting the long building. This is a traditional method of measuring the length of structures in Japan.

Take the afternoon to peruse the 1,001 statues of the goddess of mercy, Kannon. In the center of the great hall sits a large version of the deity, while rows of human-sized statues line the flanks. She is said to have 1,000 arms and 11 heads, although the actual figures have one head each and 42 arms. They were carved in the 13th century from cypress wood.

Discover the grounds, which include a serene pond and a well. A touch of wildlife with green trees and bushes decorate the gardens. Walk around the complex to encounter serenity and elegance.

Originally founded in 1164, the temple had to be rebuilt after fires. It is the site of a famous 17th-century duel between swordsmen. There are archery contests held at the temple.

The shrine is situated in the Higashiyama Ward in the northeast of the city, and there are many magnificent temples in the district. Take a bus to Hakubutsukan–Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop. You can get there easily from Kyoto Station on several different buses. The temple is only a few minutes on foot from Shichijo Station on the Keihan Line of the subway system. The Kyoto National Museum is nearby.


Guide to Exploring around Sanjusangendo Temple


Lodging Near Sanjusangendo Temple

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RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
    4.0 out of 5.0
     
     

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Aquarium. Kyoto Railway Museum and Kawaramachi are also within 2 mi ...

    RIHGA Royal Hotel KyotoAU$134

    Hyatt Regency Kyoto

    Hyatt Regency Kyoto

      4.5 out of 5.0
       
       

      Located in Higashiyama, this luxury hotel is steps away from Kyoto National Museum and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kyoto Tower and Kiyomizu Temple are also within ...

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

        4.0 out of 5.0
         
         

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Toji Temple are ...

        Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande KyotoAU$140

        THE GENERAL KYOTO Takatsuji Tominokoji

        THE GENERAL KYOTO Takatsuji Tominokoji

          3.5 out of 5.0
           
           
          5.0 out of 5 (1 reviews)

          Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nishiki Market, Kawaramachi and Pontocho. Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre and Shijo Omiya are also ...

          THE GENERAL KYOTO Takatsuji TominokojiAU$94

          Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Ekimae

          Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto Ekimae

            4.0 out of 5.0
             
             

            Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Kyoto Aquarium and Sanjusangendo Temple are also ...

            Daiwa Roynet Hotel Kyoto EkimaeAU$156

            ORIENTAL HOTEL KYOTO GALLERY

            ORIENTAL HOTEL KYOTO GALLERY

              3.0 out of 5.0
               
               

              Located in Higashiyama, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Sanjusangendo Temple, Kawaramachi and Nishiki Market. Kyoto MINAMIZA Theatre and Pontocho are ...

              ORIENTAL HOTEL KYOTO GALLERYAU$68

              APA Hotel Kyoto Ekihigashi

              APA Hotel Kyoto Ekihigashi

              Higashishiokojicho, 552-1, Kyoto, Kyoto
                3.0 out of 5.0
                 
                 

                Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Sanjusangendo Temple. Nishiki Market and Toji Temple are also within 2 mi ...

                APA Hotel Kyoto EkihigashiAU$67

                ibis Styles Kyoto Station

                ibis Styles Kyoto Station

                47 Higashikujo Kamitonoda-cho, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
                  3.0 out of 5.0
                   
                   

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto Tower and Toji Temple. Kenninji Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine are also within 3 mi (5 km). ...

                  ibis Styles Kyoto StationAU$81

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