Sanjusangendo Temple
Historic Sites • Religious Sites
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8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 4:30 PM
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About
Originally named Rengeoin Temple, this site has taken on the name of the great hall within which houses 1001 life-sized, wooden statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

4.5
3,948 reviews
Excellent
2,566
Very good
1,093
Average
249
Poor
30
Terrible
10

Kai C
Half Moon Bay, CA1,068 contributions
Aug 2022
Worthwhile visit. The temple was bult for a retired emperor seeeking to find himself among the thousand boddhisatvas. The venue consists of a huge hall with the golden buddhas, a beautiful main statue, and impressive, high quality renditions of guardian spirits (gods of thunder, wind, music war etc) in the front row. I recommend getting the official calligraphy seal (only Y300) from the officials at the front.
Written August 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Susie813
211 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
Never before had I encountered so many, literally rows and rows of Kannon guardian deities statues with local worshipping all housed under one roof. No photography inside but outside building and garden photography is OK. Temple offered slippers for going inside.

The visit route is walk from one end of the hall to the other end and then go around the back of the building with more history depiction and pictures back to the entrance. Front hall is where the deities and "God" figures were kept. They have Thunder and Wind God among others.

There is entrance fee to enter the museum but the sight was unique even in Kyoto, a place filled with temples.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mom22k
Oakville, Canada21 contributions
Nov 2022 • Couples
This was a very different temple from all the rest, due to the sheer number of bronze warriors/guardians inside the main temple. There also was a large golden God/Buddha and other main God statues. Super interesting to see but no photos allowed.
Written November 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

SanneTravel
Groningen, The Netherlands112 contributions
Feb 2020 • Couples
A 'must see' is probably one of those things you hear a lot when you browse the reviews of people visiting Kyoto. In this case, they are absolutely not wrong. It is amazing how a hall of 120 meters long is filled to the brim with 1000 gorgeous, a bit intimidating golden statues and a few wooden statues of the different gods. We were so happy that we decided to walk here after visiting kiyomizudera.
Written February 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Patrick O
Mount Holly, NC1,038 contributions
Dec 2019
We stopped here while on an afternoon tour of Kyoto and this temple is really a great place to see and explore.The hall with the1001 Buddist statues is very impressive and the large Kannon with one thousand arms is magnificient to see. One has to admire the craftsmanship. There are no photos allowed inside so buy post cards. My wife did not go in due to her dilslike of heavy incense, but this is worth seeing. Our niece and I were in awe of the sheer number of statues. There ar 28 guardian statues as well. It is easy to understand why this is a national treasure! Don't miss this one. This is one of the best temples that saw.
Written February 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

c3pon
Hampton, MN602 contributions
Jan 2020 • Couples
The exterior is relatively boring, I take your shoes off and walk inside.... Amazing! 1000 Golden Buddha statues roughly the size of an average human. Plus other statues in a large Buddha in the center. Wonderful sight to see make sure you put this on your Kyoto itinerary.
Written January 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Didge432
Sutherland Shire, Australia487 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
1001 Bronze Buddha’s. Enough said. This was an amazing temple to visit in Kyoto and one of the highlights. Only issue is you are not allowed to photograph the Buddha’s. Still, if there’s one temple you have time to visit in Kyoto, this would be the one.
Written January 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mabei0123
Tsukuba, Japan16,697 contributions
Dec 2014 • Couples
Sanjyusangendo is definitely one of the artistic highlight of Kyoto and a must-see Temple. A unique large hall made in 12 th century is still the longest wooden-made hall in the world. It accommodates astonishing arts of 1000 life-size statues of Thousand Armed Kannon* (Buddism Goddess of Mercy) and a giant Kannon in the center. In front of these 1001 Kannon statues stand 28 statues of guardian deities. These statues were made by over 70 sculptors of Kei School in 12-13th century led by Tankei, the Michelangello of the East. Their vivid, lively high quality arts still amaze most people from the world (even after 800 years !!) and are definitely heritage of the world, since they were made more than 150 years earlier than the Renaissance in Italy. Some people who do not understand these values are those not interested in Art. It is good to know that this is the 3rd most popular attraction in Kyoto by Trip Advisors.
http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3900.html

* Each 1000-armed Kannon is equipped with 11 heads to better witness the suffering of humans and with 1000 arms to better help them fight the suffering. Note that the actual statues have only 42 arms each. Subtract the two regular arms and multiply by the 25 planes of existence to get the full thousand.
Written February 21, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Scotiabee
Yokohama, Japan23 contributions
Dec 2013 • Family
As soon as you arrive at their parking lot, they tell you to make way for the bus load of visitors because they are more financially important. They charged me a full fare, disregarding my guide interpreter national certificate. Once inside, you nearly stumble with offertory boxes that are placed every 5 feet. Truly, nothing but money counts.
Written September 6, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

mabei0123
Tsukuba, Japan16,697 contributions
Apr 2016 • Friends
I've written a review of this temple which still attracts many people from around the world, as the artistic highlight of Kyoto, even after 800 years!!
https://www.tripadvisor.jp/ShowUserReviews-g298564-d321411-r255532044-Sanjusangendo_Temple-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html
Let me explain in addition now its historic value as a Miraculous Hall made by Pope Goshirakawa* and Kiyomori Taira**. The history of Japan is divided into 3 Ages, Ancient Age(ruled by Emperors and Nobles), Middle Age(ruled by Shogun and Samurai), and Modern Age(after Restoration by Emperor Meiji), but this temple was made in the transition era from Ancient Age to Middle Age in late 12th century.
*Japanese Pope: As same as almost all Imperials and Kingdoms in the world, the highest ranked Nobles in Japan, especially Fujiwara clan, had their daughter marriage with the Emperor, so that the next Emperor would be their grandson and they continued to rule the politics. But, in 11th century, a smart Emperor emerged, who deliberately retired early, heisted himself as Supra-Emperor, made his son the next Emperor, and advised him, so that he could got rid of the advise from his father in row and grandfather of Fujiwara clans. The Supra-Emperor who became a monk was called a Pope, who had both strong political and religious leadership.
**Kiyomiri Taira: Samurais were at first low class people, whose job was only to protect the rice fields owned by the nobles. But once they were allowed to possess their own rice fields, they got economic basis in addition to their military power, and became stronger and stronger. Taira and Minamoto became the 2 powerful clans which fought in Kyoto in the 12th century. Kiyomori Taira won the battle and became the highest ranked Noble and the first Samurai to actually rule the country. However, he made a mistake because of the mercy of his mother that he didn't kill the 2 sons of Minamoto, Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, who started the revenge war 20 years later and beat the son of Kiyomori who became nobles and quitted performing marshal arts as Samurai. This Heike (Taira clan) Story greatly affected Mr. George Lucus when he made "Star Wars" revenge story of Skywakers.
This temple was made in a Miraculous short time(@4 years) when Pope Goshirakawa and Kiyomori Taira were in good relationship. The Pope dreamed of re-establishing the rule by the Emperor and Nobles, while Kiyomori dreamed of opening the new era ruled by Samurais, and thus their good relationship did not last long. Furthermore, the dreams of both were not fulfilled, because after Kiyomori died, the Heike clan was beaten and extinguished by the Minamoto brothers, and Yoritomo Minamoto refused the Pope Goshirakawa's wish to come to Kyoto. He opened the first Shogun Government in Kamakura and the rule by the Pope ended and that by Samurai was started.
Therefore, this is the Miraculous Hall made by Pope Goshirakawa and Kiyomori Taira in the short transition era in the history of Japan, but survived 800 years despite many earthquakes showing the strength of the construction, and still entertain many people demonstrating the power of the art!!
Written October 8, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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