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Byodoin
The Phoenix Hall is a Symbol of Fortune?
Date:08, Jul, 2020
Investigated and Written by Misaka Youhei
About our introductory articles


Hello, I'm talking about Byodoin today. What's Byodoin? you may ask. It is a Japanese famous temple built in Uji-shi, Kyoto. You have never been there, you may say. Sure. I can easily imagine there are many who have not been to the temple. Now (2020) COVID-19 makes your trip more difficult, I suppose. I don't mean to diss foreign tourists who visit there today.



The Phoenix Hall of Byodoin

File: Uji Byodo-in Phönixhalle 17.jpg
from the Japanese Wikipedia
(Photoed on April 13, 2018)


What sect does it belong to? They didn't belong to any specific sects. And who superintends the temple? Since the 17th century, it has been managed by the Jōdo-shū and Tendai-shū every other year. It was founded in 1052, they say. How old! Of course, it has been repaired a number of times during the almost thousand years. What's special in the old temple? In fact, it is well-known as including the Houo-do (Phoenix Hall) built in 1053.

Who built? History tells it was Fujiwara-no Yorimichi (992-1074). Who was it? He is a son of Fujiwara-no Michinaga, a Japanese overwhelming power at the time. Basically, the temple had been a villa of Michinaga. He died in 1028, and his son converted it into a massive temple. Of course, Yorimichi didn't do it by himself, and hired workmen for the remodeling.

Many historical materials say the temple originally had other halls. Sadly, they were all burnt out for wars, disappeared leaving nothing. We can't check how the lost halls were actually now. Survived only the Phoenix Hall. So it is not a mystery that many people regard it as a symbol of fortune, is it?



Phoenix Hall with the Jōdo-style garden

File: Phoenix Hall.jpg
from the Japanese Wikipedia
(Photoed on October 12, 2016)


Since 1951, Japanese government has used the Phoenix Hall for Japanese 10 yen coins. If you have a chance to check it, why not? I guess it is probably easier than visiting Kyoto actually.






 

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