Sanjusangen-do Hall ranks among the world’s longest wooden buildings and is worth a visit for its superb collection of Buddhist statuary alone. While not the most famous of Kyoto’s many temples, this hall does feature on many city sightseeing tours, along with popular points of interest like Nijo Castle, Kinkaku Temple, Fushimiinari Taisha Shrine, and the bamboo forest of Arashiyama.
Things to know before you go
- Sanjusangen-do Hall is a must for art lovers and those interested in Japanese Buddhism.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera; the rows of statues make for a striking image.
- Remember to dress respectfully and keep your voice down, as this is an active place of worship.
- The temple is wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available to borrow at the entrance.
How to get there
The hall is about a 20-minute walk from Kyoto Station. To get there by public transportation, take a bus to Hakubutsukan-Sanjusangendo-mae stop or the Keihan train line to Shichijo Station.
When to get there
The temple is open daily throughout the year, with slightly shorter hours between mid November and late March. Since it’s not among the most popular temples in Kyoto, it rarely gets crowded.
Tankei, A Celebrated Sculptor
The statue of Kannon within Sanjusangen-do Hall is one of the most famous works by the Japanese sculptor Tankei. His work typified the Kei school of Buddhist sculpture, popular during the Kamakura period. This school was best known for restoring the temples of Nara and Kyoto that had been destroyed during the wars of the twelfth century.
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