Sanjusangendo Temple

Attraction Rengeoin Sanjusangendo Japan 〒605-0941 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 三十三間堂廻り−657 Published on: 29-04-2016

1 hours 30 mins
09:00 AM - 04:00 PM
08:30 AM
10:00 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
5.50 USD

Sanjusangendo Temple is good for

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  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Sanjusangendo Temple (三十三間堂, Sanjūsangendō) is the popular name for Rengeo-in, a temple in eastern Kyoto which is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy.

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Why Sanjusangendo Temple is special ?

SanjusangendoHall(三十三間堂, Sanjūsangendō) is the popular name for Rengeo-in, a temple in eastern Kyoto which is famous for its 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire.

The temple hall is with 120 meters Japan's longest wooden structure. The name Sanjusangendo (literally "33 intervals") derives from the number of intervals between the building's support columns, a traditional method of measuring the size of a building. In the center of the main hall sits a large, wooden statue of a 1000-armed Kannon (Senju Kannon) that is flanked on each side by 500 statues of human sized 1000-armed Kannon standing in ten rows. Together they make for an awesome sight.

Sanjusangendo Hall is the longest wooden structure in Japan (there are archery contests held along the length of the hall every January).

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What to explore at Sanjusangendo Temple?

SanjusangendoHall itself is surrounded by an austere gravelled space within its surrounding walls, though mature trees and ornamental gardens a contrasting feature.

There is a good gift shop here, where we bought a pack of postcards to compensate for not having been able to take photos of the Kannon, and some small scented sachets. You can also get some nicely done calligraphy

There are over a dozen bronze statues interspersed among the Buddhas and their detail is fascinating. For instance, one bronze statue has skull 'shoulders' with biting mouths that encircle the upper arm.

In front of the multiple rows of Kannons are the 28 deities that protect them, and they are wonderfully animated and distinct.

There's a massive Buddha statue (11 feet tall) in the center of the hall that is a Japanese national treasure

How to get to Sanjusangendo Temple?

Sanjusangendo is located next to the Hakubutsukan-Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop.

You can take bus No. 100, 206 or 208 from Kyoto Station to the Hakubutsukan-Sanjusangendo-mae stop. Alternatively, you can take the Keihan subway line to Shichijo Station (Sanjusangendo is about a five-minute walk from there)

Selling points

  • The ranks of statues in the great hall are marvelous
  • The artistic highlight of Kyoto !!
  • One thousand one Kannon, each with one thousand arms which each can help one thousand
  • Exquisite sculptures and picturesque garden
  • Impressive wooden building and statues
4 Days 3 Nights in Kyoto

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4.0 days
181.16 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
20 places




Rengeoin Sanjusangendo Japan 〒605-0941 Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Higashiyama Ward, 三十三間堂廻り−657

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Tips for you

  • Here's a museum right across the street as well and taxis are out front if you need one.
  • The temple sells a beautiful souvenir book for only ¥ 500 ($ 4.12)as a special souvenir
  • There's no restaurant on premises or in the immediate area so that you should have food figured out
  • You should try to come in the morning when it is not crowded so you can enjoy the unbelievable statues assembled there and the hall is not well ventilated and only gets hotter and more crowded as the day goes on. Because photos are not allowed inside the Hall , you could buy the cheap guidebook with lovely pictures and text as a memory of a superb visit
  • You shouldn't wear knee-high gladiators with tie-up laces or your off-white, holey socks
    What to wear
  • The incense can be overpowering if you are asthmatic.
  • You cannot take photos here (and prominently warned about), presumably to ease the flow of observers (and to increase the sales from the gift shop). You must remove your shoes to visit the temple.
  • Outside of the temple is usually used for archer competitions apperantly and it is also cool
  • You shouldn’t forget to visit the Chishaku-in temple in the back of the property to ring the bell for good luck. Gardens are also nice to walk around and a pretty garden with pond setting.
    Things to do


TripAdvisor View more

What an amazing place, 1001 individually carved Kannon statues packed inside a most impressive temple - the longest wooden building in the world (they have archery competitions on the veranda alone!). We walked from Kyoto station, across the Sumida river, and it took us about 20 minutes (on hindsight we ought to have taken a taxi). 600¥ entry fee, 100¥ lockers to store your bags (good idea to do this as you won't be using your fancy cameras inside - photos are seriously prohibited, they threaten to check your cameras on the way out!). We had to take off our shoes and wear slippers to walk through (drove my husband to distraction as they kept slipping off!). What you will see inside will blow you away - to think that these figures have been standing here for hundreds of years, a testament to the sheer magnitude of the Buddhist faith. We enjoyed spotting differences in the figures. Good English labels helped explain what we were looking at, especially the details about the archery contest on the other side of the temple. Make sure you walk around the whole complex afterwards, there's a lovely pond and garden on one side of the temple, perfect for photos. If you only visit one temple in Kyoto, do make it this one.

Once you step inside, you'll immediately know that this is one of the most impressive shrines in Kyoto. You don't want to miss it. It's also a nice walk from Kyoto Station to start off your visit.

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