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Vermillion Framed Thirty-Three Length Hall: Sanjūsangendō「三十三間堂」

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Vermillion Framed Thirty-Three Length Hall: Sanjūsangendō「三十三間堂」

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Vermillion Gate at Sanjusangen-do, Kyoto

Sanjusangendo, literally translates to Thirty-Three Length Hall, and formally known as Rengeo-in, is a very unique temple. The interior of the hall holds 1000 Buddha statues

A ken 「間」 is a unit of Japanese measurement. 1 ken about 1.9 metres long, which is the length of a tatami mat. Thirty-three ken is a little over 62 metres long, the length of Sanjusangendo.

Vermillion Gate at Sanjusangen-do, Kyoto

Vermillion Gate at Sanjusangen-do, Kyoto

The distance between the two vermillion columns in this picture is 1 ken. The ken is an important measurement in traditional Japanese buildings, especially those with religious importance. The dimensions of these structures are typically odd numbers, such as Todai-ji in Nara which is 7 ken wide, and Sanjusangendo is 33 ken long and 5 ken wide.

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View this location on Google Maps – coordinates: 34.987921,135.772246.

The only bad thing about this hall is that you can’t take photos inside. The Buddha statues are sacred, and it is a sign of respect to not take photos. This practice is observed in many temples, such as the Toshogu Shrine in Nikko, which has several large Buddha statues, almost 5 metres high, that cannot be photographed.

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Deano「ヂィノ」 Wormald

Your man in Japan, online since 2009. I used to live in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, and travel to Japan at least once a year for three weeks.

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