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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Seiryoji Temple 清凉寺(嵯峨釈迦堂)

A unique statue with a complex history

Also known as Saga Shakado, Seiryoji Temple was constructed in 895 as a replica of Wutai Shan or Qingliang Shan of China. The temple has as its principal image a wooden standing statute of Shaka (National Treasure. 162 cm high), one of the three most famous Nyorai (Buddha or tathagata) of Japan.

Don't Miss

  • The trinity of Amitābha statues, a National Treasure, or the number of other statues that have been designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties
  • A performance of the important intangible cultural property "Saga Dai Nenbutsu Kyogen," performed at the temple every April

Quick Facts

Seiryo-ji was originally the villa of Toru of Minamoto, inspiration for Genji, of The Tale of Genji

The main hall was reconstructed to honor the mother of the fifth Tokugawa shogun

How to Get There

It can be accessible by bus.

The temple is a fifteen minute walk from Arashiyama Station on the Keifuku line.

The background of the temple

The temple's principal image has an unusual background but is now considered historically invaluable. A Shaka statue commissioned by the ancient Indian king Udayana was brought to China. In 985, a Japanese monk named Chonen had an accurate replica of the statue made in Sung dynasty China which he brought to Japan. With morions in its eyes, crystaline ears and ropy hair, the image is quite different than other Buddhist images common in Japan. Later, a number of Buddhist images were made as “Seiryoji-style” images, in imitation of the statue.

Ikimi Nyorai

An academic study in 1953 highlighted the statue’s aspect as a human phantom; its ear holes and nasal cavity are connected, and models of internal organs made of silk that were found inside are believed to be the oldest of this kind in the world. This aspect gave another name “Ikimi Nyorai (flesh and blood Buddha)” to the very unique image.

When to visit

The wooden statue is designated a National Treasure, and is an example of a hibutsu, or hidden Buddha. It is exhibited on the 8th every month (from 11:00) and in April, May, October and November.

Other national treasures

The trinity of Amitābha statues is a National Treasure, and a number of other statue have been designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. Within the Scripture House is a revolving sutra cabinet Rinzo, which holds the complete version of the Buddhist scriptures called the Issaikyozo, which literally means the 5408 scrolls.

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