Kyoto – Exploring Arashiyama – Seiryo-ji, Gio-ji, and Daikaku-ji

Seiryoji

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.

Seiryoji

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.

Seiryoji

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.

Seiryoji

Next time I’ll put the camera bag down

Seiryoji

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.

Gioji Temple

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.

Gioji Temple

The final leg of our journey brought us to Daikaku-ji Temple [大覚寺].

Daikakuji

Looking out towards the Main Shrine of the Five Vidyarajas and the Gate of the Imperial Messenger

From the Daikaku-ji Temple official website:

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.

Daikakuji

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.

Daikakuji

Neither the Japanese brochure nor the website mentioned above label this gorgeous building.

Daikakuji

Unfortunately, we had to move pretty quickly through Daikaku-ji Temple in order to return our bikes.

More Japan Travels

All information, unless otherwise noted, is from tourist information plaques and brochures.

4 thoughts on “Kyoto – Exploring Arashiyama – Seiryo-ji, Gio-ji, and Daikaku-ji

  1. Very nice photos! When I see your photos of places in Japan it makes me want to visit the places, even if I have in the past. Your photos of Taiwan and everything else are always good too.

    >>The place where we rented our bicycles said they closed
    >>at 5:00 but insisted we bring our bikes back by 4:30, weird.

    They said that because they want to lock the doors at 5:00 and be ready to go home, or at least finish some work without havinv to deal with customers. A lot of businesses in tourist areas, as well as traditional family-owned and local small business in regular towns operate this way.

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