When traveling through Kyoto, be sure to start each day extra early, most of the temples seem to close at 4:30 or 5:00. The place where we rented our bicycles said they closed at 5:00 but insisted we bring our bikes back by 4:30, weird.
Seiryo-ji’s Main Hall – rebuilt in 1701
Construction of Seiryo-ji Temple [清涼寺] began around 895 by Chonen and was later completed by his apprentice Seisan. The temple is renown for its sandalwood image of Shaka.
From Tales of Genji:
In 985, the monk Chonen went to China on a pilgrimage and commissioned a copy of the legendary Udayana Buddha, said to be an actual likeness made by the Indian King Udayana during the Buddha’s lifetime. The Udayana Buddha was subsequently moved to China and eventually lost during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.
Next time I’ll put the camera bag down
View the large
We took a brief stroll around Gio-ji Temple [祇王寺], which was a nice quiet stop away from the more popular tourist attractions. Inside the temple is a statue of Dainichi Nyorai, the Buddha of Light.
Kyoto Travel Guide supplies a brief history of the temple’s name:
The temple is named for Gio, a dancer from long ago who fell in love with Taira-no-Kiyomori, the mighty commander of the Heike Clan. When he ended their relationship, Gio retreated to this temple to spend the rest of her life as a Buddhist priestess, along with her sister, mother and another of Kiyomori’s spurned lovers. Wooden statues of the women and Kiyomori are enshrined in the main hall.
The final leg of our journey brought us to Daikaku-ji Temple [大覚寺].
Looking out towards the Main Shrine of the Five Vidyarajas and the Gate of the Imperial Messenger
The temple was once a detached palace belonging to Emperor Saga. In 876, his daughter Empress Seishi renovated the palace as Daikakuji temple and appointed her son, Imperial Prince Gojaku as the first chief priest. The temple inherited the doctrine of the monk Kukai, also known as Kobo-Daishi, whose faith Emperor Saga embraced.
Chokufu-Shingyo-den – built in 1925 in commemoration of the 600th-year anniversary of the retired Emperor Gouda and the 500th- year anniversary of Emperor Gokameyama.
Neither the Japanese brochure nor the website mentioned above label this gorgeous building.
Unfortunately, we had to move pretty quickly through Daikaku-ji Temple in order to return our bikes.
All information, unless otherwise noted, is from tourist information plaques and brochures.