Kyoto Tower is an observation tower located in Kyoto, Japan. The steel tower is the tallest structure in Kyoto with its observation deck at 100 metres and its spire at 131 metres. The 800-ton tower stands atop a 9-story building, which houses a 3-star hotel and several stores. [Wikipedia]
Kyoto, the cultural capital, has always resisted modern looking architecture, and the Kyoto Tower had its share of resistance, but was finally completed and opened to general public in 1964. Designed to look like a Japanese candle, Kyoto Tower is an observation tower which is just opposite of JR Kyoto Station. Do not miss an aerial view of Kyoto, well equipped with binoculars which can give you a wonderful view of this city so rich in culture.
Nishi Hongan-ji is a large Buddhist temple west of Kyoto train station. Together with Higashi Hongan-ji, together with Nishi Hongan-ji, it is one of the two temple complexes of Shin Buddhism in Kyoto. It currently also serves as the main temple of the Jodo -Shin sect, one of the largest Buddhist sects in Japan with over 10,000 sub-temples across the country and 200 temples overseas. Built in 1591 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the building is a great example of the architecture of the Momoyama Period and the Early Edo Period. The two largest structures by Nishi Hongan-ji are the Goeido Hall, the largest wooden structure in Kyoto, and the Amidado Hall. Nishi Hongan-ji is also one of the 17 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto. A small Japanese garden called Shoseien is a few blocks east of Higashi Hongan-ji. Nowadays the garden with its pond and the particularly beautiful autumn colors is open to the public.
Kyoto Aquarium is located on the edge of Umekoji Park near Kyoto Station. The aquarium features 9 zones including penguins, seals and dolphin shows.
Sanjusangendo, officially called Rengeō-in, is a Buddhist temple of the Tendai sect located in the Higashiyama district of Kyoto. The temple’s main hall is famous for housing 1,001 statues of Senju Kannon (1,000-armed Kannon), the goddess of mercy. Taira no Kiyamori built the temple in 1164 as a retirement palace for Emperor Go-Shirakawa. Years later, the structure burned down but was reconstructed in 1266. The name Sanjusangendo translates to “a hall with 33 spaces between columns'' and refers to the number of intervals between the temple’s support columns. The focal point of the temple is its main hall. The impressive one-story building measures 120 meters long, making it the longest wooden structure in Japan. The main hall’s humble architectural style is characterized by its woodwork and slanted roof of wooden shingles. Despite its lack of outward ornateness, the hall’s sheer size commands respect from visitors and exudes a ubiquitous air of sacredness. Apart from the main hall, the grounds are also home to tranquil gardens, temple structures painted in brilliant vermillion, and an annual archery festival called Toshiya Matsuri, where thousands of participants come to test their bow skills and endurance. Witness the 1,001 Senju Kannon Statues Inside the main hall, walk among hundreds of golden, human-sized statues of Senju Kannon. The ornately carved statues stand in elegance with two of their 1,000 arms positioned in prayer and their serene faces deep in meditation. Atop their heads sprout additional smaller heads, which, along with goddess’ 1,000 arms, help her better fight human suffering. In the center of the hall sits a large statue of Kannon, who is positioned similarly in prayer with her multitude of arms fanned out behind her. The 12th and 13th-century statues are carved from Japanese cypress and lacquered with gold leaf, and the large Kannon statue, in particular, is considered a National Treasure. The 1,000 smaller statues are situated on both sides of the seated goddess in ten rows of 50. In front of the first row of Kannon statues, stand 28 additional sculptures of Buddhist guardian deities, many of whom, in contrast to the meditative statues, are poised in protective stances. The visual of hundreds of golden statues against the wooden hall’s muted walls is a truly awe-inspiring sight. Visitors cannot help but be comforted by the overwhelming sight of the serene goddess of mercy. Admission to Sanjusangendo costs 600 JPY for adults, 400 JPY for junior/senior high school students, and 300 JPY for children.