Kannon Statues of Sanjūsangen-dō


  • Business: National Treasure
  • Hours: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Price: $$
  • Constructed: 12th Century
  • Telephone: 075-561-0467
  • Website: www.sanjusangendo.jp

Surrounded by 1001 life-size Kannon statues

The national treasure, Sanjūsangen-dō, is one of many fantastic places to visit in Japan.


The first attraction of Sanjūsangen-dō temple is the 1001 statues of the Buddhist deity, Juichimen-senjusengen Kanzeon, which is often called by the simplified name, “Kannon.” One thousand standing statues of Kannon (National Treasure) and one gigantic seated statues (National Treasure), placed at the center of the standing statues, are houses in the temple hall. The figures are made of Japanese cypress. Among the standing statues, 124 were made in the 12th century when Sanjūsangen-dō was founded. The remaining 876 were made in the 13th century when the temple was renovated.

The powerful and dynamic statues of the Thunder God and the Wind God have been placed on either side of the temple hall on raised cloud-shaped pedestals. The images of these gods derived from people’s fear of gratitude for nature in the old days. People worshipped them as deities who controlled rain and wind and brought about good harvests. These statues are representative masterpiece sculptures of the Kamakura period (12th – 14th centuries)

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The beautiful life-size Kannon statues still shine brightly after centuries.

The twenty-eight images placed in a straight line in front of the 1001 Kannon statues are guardian deities that protect the Buddhist deity Kannon as well as pious Buddhists who believe in Kannon. Many of these deities, whose mythic images are expressed vividly, have their origin in ancient India. Technically, these statues were made in an assembled construction method. Arms and heads were carved separately, then joined together, coated with lacquer, and finished by coloring.

The official name of Sanjūsangen-dō is Rengeō-in temple, and the structure is registered as a National Treasure by the Japanese government. It was established by the power warrior politician Taira-no-Kiyomori in 1664. The original temple building was lost in a fire and was later reconstructed in 1266. That structure has remained unchanged for 700 years since then, with four significant renovations during that period.

The long temple hall, which is about 120 meters long, is made in the Wayo (Japanese) style architecture as there are thirty-three spaces between the columns; this temple came to the called “Sanjūsangen-dō” (a hall with thirty-three spaces between columns). Other noteworthy objects in this temple are the roofed earthen fence and the South Gate, which is registered as Important Cultural Properties. They are noted in connection with Regent Toyotomi Hideyoshi and reflect the aesthetics of the 16th century.

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You can see how long the hall is in the above picture.

Outside the temple, you can enjoy the beautiful Japanese garden. 🌲

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