Chion-in Temple 知恩院
Entrance to the Temple Chion-in.
Chion-in Temple in Kyoto.
The garden of the Chion-in Temple at night.
Credit: DR Guylène Le Mignot
The spectacular Chion-in Temple
Everything is big, stupefying and remarkable in Chion-in. To believe that it was solely built to amaze visitors.
From the multitude of religious buildings in Kyoto, Chion-in is the one that stands out. Perched high in the area of Higashiyama, this multifaceted temple is full of surprises. First, we must have strong knees. The temple is indeed strewn with stairs and steps. However, one must concede that it adds to its majestic aspect, reinforcing the feeling of being a humble passerby faced with the twenty-four meters high and fifty meters wide immense door, the San-mon: the widest wooden gate of the archipelago. The arched entrance is on top of fifty steps. Once climbed, do not forget to turn around and enjoy the panoramic views of the Maruyama-Koen and Yasaka Jinja.
A vigilant bird
To the delight of children and the Otori Clan readers, novels of Ian Learn, the exterior corridors are paved with trapped parquet, known as uguisu-bari. The floor makes a grinding sound similar sound to the song of a nightingale . The most ingenious ploy, which is found in Nijo-jo, would reveal intruders who seek to disturb the tranquility of the monastic residence. After the foiled test, the Chion-in contains rarities with its seventy-four ton bell dating back from 1633, the heaviest of Japan.
Aesthetics of the sacred
Amusement aside, the main building still hosts many religious ceremonies in a place which, nevertheless, was the closing of the three branches of Amidism, the Jodo sect, called the "Pure Land". China-in, designed by Honen (1133-1212), whose ashes rest in the mausoleum, near the big bell, remains one of the most popular in Japan because of its accessibility. To end on a more aesthetic note both Japanese gardens Yuzen and Hojo, reveal the monotony of the beautiful brown wooden buildings by the opulence of lush colors at their best when summer comes. Towering pillars of the main building to the minute details of smaller prints, the Chion-in remains in the race for the prize of the most spectacular temples.