Walked to "Rengeo-in Sanjusangendo" (National Treasure). It was built in 1164 by Emperor Go-Shirakawa in the Heian period (794-1185) as his residence after his abdication (as emperor), with the financial support of Taira no Kiyomori, a powerful man of the time.
Inside the long main hall, about 125 meters long from north to south, there are 1,001 life-sized golden statues of the thousand-armed Avalokitesvara standing in an orderly line.
In 2018, all of the 1001 statues were collectively designated as national treasures. "Rengeo" is another name for the main statue of the thousand-armed Avalokitesvara.
When the temple was destroyed by fire in 1249, 124 of the 1,001 statues were rescued. The reconstruction of the 877 lost statues of the Avalokitesvara was a huge project that involved 150 artists over a period of about 16 years, including a group of eminent Buddhist masters from Nara and Kyoto representing the Kamakura period, such as the Kei school known for Unkei and Kaikei, the In and the En schools.
Unfortunately, photography was not allowed in the building. According to the description oitside, there are 10 prints of Avalokitesvara in the womb of each statue, which means there are about 10,000 Avalokitesvara statues in total.
The garden, which was created by the famous gardener, Mr. Kinsaku Nakane, in 1961 to commemorate the 770th anniversary of the death of Emperor Go-Shirakawa, was renovated this year. Maintenance is always important.
Went to "Chishakuin", the head temple of the Chizan sect of Shingon Buddhism, which is located nearby. It is famous for the barrier paintings and sliding door paintings by Hasegawa Tohaku, which convey the splendor of Momoyama art to this day.
Autumn Grass on a Pine Tree (National Treasure) and Yellow and Red Sunflower on a Pine Tree (National Treasure).
Cherry blossoms by his son, Kyuzo Hasegawa (National Treasure).
All sources: https://chisan.or.jp/chishakuin/houmotsu/
These gold barrier paintings were originally displayed in the guest hall of Shounzenji Temple, which was built by Hideyoshi to mourn the death of his son, Tsurumatsu, who died prematurely at the age of three. The splendid scenic garden facing the auditorium was also taken over from Shounzenji and restored. Shounzenji was destroyed by fire in 1682, and no trace of it remains.
The balance of the artificial hill, stones, and pond is exquisite. It is said "Rikyu's favorite", the genius tea master.
A signboard at the entrance explains how Chishakuin became the head temple of the Chizan sect of Shingon Buddhism in this area. After the death of Kobo-Daishi Kukai, the center of learning was moved to Wakayama's Negoro. But the place was burned down in a confrontation with Hideyoshi, and was rebuilt and moved to its current location by Tokugawa Ieyasu. Kyoto is indeed a great place to understand history and Buddhism.
Went to the nearby Toyokuni Shrine. The shrine is dedicated to Hideyoshi. Apparently, Hideyoshi set up various facilities in this area in honor of the prosperity of Emperor Go-Shirakawa and Taira no Kiyomori. Now it's a quiet place. In Kyoto, traces of Hideyoshi have been overwritten and preserved. All things are impermanent.
After returning home, had an unfiltered, unpasteurized sake from "Okura Honke" in Nara. The sweetness, umami, and fruity flavors all stood out and were well balanced, with a surprisingly clean aftertaste. Couldn't taste it when bought it so didn't expect much, but really enjoyed it.
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