One of the iconic National Treasures of Japan, the Sanjusangendo Temple was built in 1164 for Emperoro Go-Shirakawa. The temple features a massive hall or hondo, a collection of 1001 statues of the armed Kannon, the Japanese goddess of mercy, 28 standing attendants, a statue of Fujin, the Japanese god of wind and one of Raijin, the Japanese god of thunder, lightning and storms. The temple was rebuilt a century later, after its inauguration as parts of it were destroyed in a fire. Measuring 120 meters, the main hall is Japan’s longest wooden structure. Because there are so many statues, visitors often breeze past them without paying attention to the smaller details and the text under each statue.
We recommend you spend some time observing the statues and reading the text as each statue has its own unique story to tell. Located across the Kyoto National Museum, the Temple makes for a fun cultural tour where you can dive into the history of Kyoto and learn about the stories that inspired the temple into being built.