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Sanjusangendo Temple

This temple is the famous site where thousands of hand-carved deities from the 13th century flank the longest wooden building in Japan.

Sanjusangendo Temple is a Japanese gem known for its multiple statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy. It contains the longest wooden hall in the country, where the carved figures stand. Its grounds evoke tranquility among its organized buildings. As the historic site of dueling swordsmen, archery and fires, the Sanjusangen Temple attracts both regular tourists and those with a real interest in history. This is a place to marvel at the ingenuity of Japanese sculptors from ancient times.

Walk across the main hall, which is Japan’s longest wooden structure at 395 feet (120 meters). The complex takes it name from the number of intervals between the columns supporting the long building. This is a traditional method of measuring the length of structures in Japan.

Take the afternoon to peruse the 1,001 statues of the goddess of mercy, Kannon. In the center of the great hall sits a large version of the deity, while rows of human-sized statues line the flanks. She is said to have 1,000 arms and 11 heads, although the actual figures have one head each and 42 arms. They were carved in the 13th century from cypress wood.

Discover the grounds, which include a serene pond and a well. A touch of wildlife with green trees and bushes decorate the gardens. Walk around the complex to encounter serenity and elegance.

Originally founded in 1164, the temple had to be rebuilt after fires. It is the site of a famous 17th-century duel between swordsmen. There are archery contests held at the temple.

The shrine is situated in the Higashiyama Ward in the northeast of the city, and there are many magnificent temples in the district. Take a bus to Hakubutsukan–Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop. You can get there easily from Kyoto Station on several different buses. The temple is only a few minutes on foot from Shichijo Station on the Keihan Line of the subway system. The Kyoto National Museum is nearby.

Popular Activities at Sanjusangendo Temple

Like to make your stop at Sanjusangendo Temple even more unforgettable? Remember to try out a few of these things to do:

Taken you years to experience this fantastic attraction? Then you mustn't leave without trying out a Full-Day Kyoto City Tour.

Check out our Kyoto things to do page to discover even more activities while you're in the area.


Guide to Exploring around Sanjusangendo Temple


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Best Lodging Options Near Sanjusangendo Temple

See all 2,273 Properties near Sanjusangendo Temple
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto ¥9,360
RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

RIHGA Royal Hotel Kyoto

1 Taimatsu-cho, Shiokoji-sagaru, HigashiHorikawa-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Nishihonganji Temple, Kyoto Tower, and Kyoto Aquarium. Higashi Honganji Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Toji Station is 12 minutes.

    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA  ¥9,606
    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

    Hotel Vischio Kyoto by GRANVIA 

    44-1, Kamitonodacho, Higashikujo, Minami-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Higashikujo Nishisannocho, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Kyoto TERRSA and Kyoto Tower. Higashi Honganji Temple and Sanjusangendo Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is only a 5-minute walk and Jujo Station is 15 minutes.

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto ¥11,852
      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      Daiwa Royal Hotel Grande Kyoto

      15 Nishi-Iwamotocho, Higashi-kujo, Kyoto, Kyoto
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Kyoto TERRSA, Kyoto Tower, and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Kyoto Aquarium are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kujo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Shichijo Station is 12 minutes.

        Kyoto Century Hotel ¥7,916
        Kyoto Century Hotel

        Kyoto Century Hotel

        680 Higashi Shiokoji-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Central Kyoto, this romantic hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Kyoto Tower, Nishiki Market, and Shijo Omiya. Kawaramachi and Kiyomizu Temple are also within 2 mi (3 km). Kyoto Station is 7 minutes by foot and Kujo Station is 14 minutes.

          Hyatt Regency Kyoto ¥28,800
          Hyatt Regency Kyoto

          Hyatt Regency Kyoto

          644-2 Sanjusangendo-mawari, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
             
            4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in the historical district, this luxury hotel is steps from Kyoto National Museum and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Shichijo Station is 6 minutes by foot and Kyoto Kiyomizu-gojo Station is 14 minutes.

            APA Villa Hotel Kyoto-Ekimae ¥4,630
            APA Villa Hotel Kyoto-Ekimae

            APA Villa Hotel Kyoto-Ekimae

            533 Shiokoji-cho,Shichijosagaru, Higashinotoin-dori,Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Central Kyoto, this hotel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Higashi Honganji Temple, Toji Temple, and Kiyomizu Temple. Yasaka Shrine and Fushimi Inari Shrine are also within 3 mi (5 km). Kyoto Station is 7 minutes by foot and Kyoto Shichijo Station is 10 minutes.

              Karen Kyoto Higashiyama ¥8,000
              Karen Kyoto Higashiyama

              Karen Kyoto Higashiyama

              656-17 Hongawara-cho, Higashiyama-ward, Kyoto, Kyoto
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Kyoto, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto National Museum and Sanjusangendo Temple. Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Shichijo Station is 9 minutes by foot and Kyoto Tofukuji Station is 12 minutes.

                Hotel Granvia Kyoto ¥13,972
                Hotel Granvia Kyoto

                Hotel Granvia Kyoto

                JR Kyoto Station, Karasuma Chuo-guchi, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo, Kyoto, Kyoto
                   
                  4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Central Kyoto, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Kyoto Tower and Higashi Honganji Temple. Sanjusangendo Temple and Toji Temple are also within 1 mi (2 km). Kyoto Station is only a 5-minute walk and Gojo Station is 14 minutes.