Emperor Shomu commissioned an ambitious project in 743. The construction of a building to house what was to be the most colossal bronze statue in the world, the Daibutsu (great Buddha) of Nara which was eventually consecrated in 752. At the entrance, visitors pass through the Nandai-mon, the Great South Gate with two impressive wooden statues the Ni-oh guardians made in 1203 by the sculptor’s Unkei and Kaikei. At the end of the avenue is the Great Buddha Hall, the Daibutsu-den. The great bronze statue of Daibutsu Vairocana, created in 751, sitting on a lotus flower in a state of enlightenment. Its enormous height (50ft/15m) and weighs (250 tons) is …
Miyama is a region 50 kilometers to the north of Kyoto city surrounded by mountains. The area is famous for its traditional, thatched roof (kayabuki) farmhouses of which over 200 can be seen dotting the countryside. Unlike those found in many other historic towns and districts around the country, the majority of Miyama‘s old houses survive as residential dwellings where people still live and work. In Miyama, the ancient culture is very much a part of everyday life, spending time here allows you to experience that culture first hand. The village “Miyama Kayabuki-no-sato” has 38 houses whose roof is thatched. This village itself is like a postcard! This in turn …
Himeji-jo is one of the great masterpieces of Japanese architecture, and known as the White Heron Castle (Shirasagi-jo). Its graceful outlines (a central five-story keep surrounded by three smaller bastions) and white plaster walls resemble a bird taking flight. Built on a hill in the middle of a vast plain, this impregnable fortress is a model of the art of defense.
Jingo-ji Temple was originally from two different temples, and these temples were merged in in 824. This was the origin of Zingo-ji Temple. This temple has many National Treasures such as Yakushi-nyorai Buddha statue, works of calligraphy, and pictures. It is believed that Yakushi-nyorai Buddha statue protects people from ill so it holds a medicine pot. Zingo-ji Temple is also famous for colored Japanese maple trees. It turns into red and yellow in autumn. In November you can enjoy illuminated trees.
Ujigami-jinja Shrine is a World Heritage shrine in Uji, southern part of Kyoto. The main building is the oldest Shinto Architecture in Japan dates back to 11th century. Until the Meiji revolution, this shrine was named Ujirikyumyojin together with Uji Shrine nearby this shrine. This shrine is also known for one of the seven Uji natural water places.
Daigo-ji Temple belongs to Shingon sect in Japanese Buddhism and it was established for monks’ meditation training in 9th century. It has a five storied wooden tower which is 25 meters high and it is actually the oldest wooden building in Kyoto. The Emperor ordered to support this temple financially so it has 80 sub-temples in the huge land. Daigo-ji is famous for its cherry blossoms. Site
Kozan-ji Temple is registered as a World Cultural Heritage. This temple has pictures and works of calligraphy which are registered as National treasure. Especially, Chozyugiga-zo is known for the first manga in Japan. In addition, the first tea plantation in Japan was achieved in this temple. A Monseigneur who started this temple received some tee plants from another Monseigneur who just came back from ancient China. Then, the Monseigneur started planting tea and even now, people can pick up the tee leaves from here. Leaves in autumn is very beautiful.
Byodo-in is a famous Temple in Uji, southern part of Kyoto, which represents prosperity of Fujiwara family. Fujiwara-no-Yorimichi, a Japanese court noble, reconstructed his father’s villa into this temple in 11th century. Hoohdo (Phoenix Hall) looks like a phoenix spreading its wings. The picture on the front side of 10 yen coin is Hoohdo. You can also see one of the ornamental phoenixes up close on the back of a 10,000 yen bill. Byodo-in also has beautiful garden and museum. It is nice to walk along Azirogi Street which locates nearby this temple. Site
You may have seen a picture of numerous red Torii gates (gates of a shrine) as an image of Japan. These gates are in the site of Fushimi-inari-taisha Shrine in the southern part of Kyoto. It is said that in 711, a nobleman Hata-no-kimi Irogu built this shrine, which is dedicated to the gods of harvest and business. Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine is the head shrine of more than 30 thousand Inari Shrine all over in Japan. Inari Shrine is a shrine where the god of the harvest and business is worshiped. Although they are called Senbon Torii (1,000 Torii gates), there are actually about 10,000 on the hill and the number …
Full-scale brewing of sake (rice wine) began in Fushimi about 400 years ago, because rich spring groundwater from Momoyama hill was suitable for brewing. Fushimi was prospered as a port of Yodo River, also as a castle town. Now, white walls of wine cellars are lined along the Uji River and Canal. You can look the history, the process and the utensils of sake brewing of Fushimi, in Gekkeikan Okura Museum. You can be tasting the spring water of Fushimi and sake after the tour of the museum (advance reservation is required). You can also enjoy the 50 minutes’ cruise to see the landscape such as wine cellars and willow …