Local map and Plan

Places of interest in the vicinity

Byodo-in temple in Uji, Kyoto

Byodo-in temple, one of 17 World Cultural Heritage sites in Kyoto, has a typical Jodo-Shiki teien (Pure Land garden) that consists of Amida-do (Ho'o-do) hall and a pond. Amida-do, a national treasure, stands facing east on Naka-jima island in Aji-ike pond. The layout was designed so that ancient aristocrats can make bow from the east side of the pond toward Amida-do that represents Pure Land, or the western paradise.

Inside of Amida-do are a figure of Amida-Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) and 51 smaller Buddhist images playing musical instruments. The primary and smaller images as well as the canopy above Amida-Nyorai are national treasures. The inner walls once were painted colorfully to represent Pure Land but most of the paintings have faded away. Vivid color reproduction of the wall paintings are displayed in Hosho-kan Museum.

Guided tours into the hall are provided every 30 minutes from 9:30 to 16:30 or until the tours become full (see the "Hours and Admission" below for more detail.)

The bell, a national treasure, is regarded as one of three best bells in Japan. The beautifully cast bell is installed in the museum and a replica is hung in the belfry.

This temple is independent and does not belong to any Buddhist sects (see the "History of Byodo-in" below for more detail.)

History of Byodo-in

Fujiwara no Yorimichi (992-1074), who was Kanpaku (the Chief Advisor to the Emperor), the most powerful aristocrat at the time, transformed his villa into a temple that is called Byodo-in, in the year 1052. They believed that the very year was the first year of the latter days of the world and Fujiwara clan wanted to realize Buddhist heaven in this world.

This temple once had a huge complex but most of the buildings were burned down by fires of war in the years of 1180, 1336 and 1570. Present day Byodo-in has three structures only, that are Amida-do (Ho'o-do), Kan'non-do and a belfry.

The temple originally belonged to Tendai-shu Buddhist sect then changed to Jodo-shu followed by Shingon-shu. In the early 17th century, dispute arose between Jodo-shu and Shingon-shu over rights to control Byodo-in. In 1654, a Tendai Buddhist priest return to Byodo-in and founded a sub-temple that later became Saisho-in. Now same dispute arose between Tendai-shu and Jodo-shu. In 1681, the administrator for religious affairs arbitrated between them and Tendai-shu sect Saisho-in and Jodo-shu sect Jodo-in have been cooperating and managing Byodo-in since then.

How to get to Byodo-in

  • 17 minutes to 28 minutes from JR Kyoto station to Uji station on JR Nara Line, then 10 minutes on foot.
  • 31 minutes from Shijo station to Keihan-Uji station via Chushojima station on Keihan Railway, then 10 minutes on foot.

Hours and Admission


Hours: 8:30-17:30 (ticket box offices close at 17:15).


All except those listed below: 600 yen (300 yen from Sept. 3, 2012 to Mar 31, 2014),
Junior high school students (7th to 9th graders) and high school students: 400 yen (200 yen from Sept. 3, 2012 to Mar 31, 2014),
Elementary school pupils (1st to 6th graders): 300 yen (150 yen from Sept. 3, 2012 to Mar 31, 2014),
Children under school age: free.

Hosho-kan Museum

Hours: 9:00-17:00 (entrance closes at 16:45).

Admission: free

Ho'o-do guided tour

Hours: a tour takes 20 minutes and starts every 30 minutes from 9:30 (the ticket box office hours: 9:10-16:10).

Admission: additional 300 yen.

NOTE: The tour is in Japanese but scripts are provided in English, Chinese or Korean.

Photos / Pictures

Photos of Amida-do (Ho'o-do)

Click on a photo for a larger image.

  Amida-do Hall, commonly known as Ho'o-do (the Phoenix Hall), and it's reflection on Aji-ike pond. The Phoenix Hall is believed to be called so because it's ground plan looks like a bird spreading its wings. The main hall on the island of Aji-ike pond was built in the year 1053 and is now a national treasure.
April 30, 2008
Ho'o-do looked from north-east. The hall faces east.
April 30, 2008
The face of the primary Buddhist image can be seen through a round cutout of the lattice in the center of Ho'o-do hall. The seated statue of Amida-Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) is the sole work that is evidenced to have been created by Jocho, a master sculptor of the era.
March 28, 2012
Ishidoro, a stone lantern in front of Ho'o-do.
March 28, 2012
Aji-ike pond
An islet and a couple of bridges, one flat and the other arched. These were reconstructed in 2002 based on excavation findings, after a controversy.
Ho'o-do tour starts at the right end of the right bridge.
April 30, 2008
Ho'o-do and azalea.
April 30, 2008
Aji-ike pond in front of Ho'o-do.
April 30, 2008
The bakc of Phoenix Hall
The back of Ho'o-do, likened to the tail of the phoenix.
March 28, 2012
Southern Ho'o, a phoenix, on the roof of Ho'o-do. This is a replica of the national treasure that is displayed in the museum.
April 30, 2008
Northern Ho'o, which is also a replica.
April 30, 2008

Other structures and monuments

Click on a photo for a larger image.

Omote-mon gate, the front gate of the temple.
April 30, 2008
Kan'non-do hall, an important cultural property that was built in 1185. Until sometime between 1180-1185, Hondo (the Main Hall) of the temple had been standing here.
April 30, 2008
Ogi-no-shiba, the fan-shaped-lawn on which Minamoto-no-Yorimasa committed harakiri suicide at age 76. In 1180, he persuaded Prince Mochihito to raise a revolt and crush the Heike, a samurai family being in power. He raised an army with the Prince but was defeated by the Heike after all.
March 28, 2012
The belfry The surface of the bell
The belfry. The bell is a replica of a national treasure that is displayed in the museum of the temple.
March 28, 2012
A relief of a celestial nymph on the surface of the bell.
March 28, 2012
A relief of a lion on the surface of the bell.
March 28, 2012
The crown of the bell Nanmon Murasaki Shikibu
The dragon-shaped crown of the bell.
March 28, 2012
Nanmon, the south gate.
March 28, 2012
Stone image of Murasaki Shikibu, the author of Genji-monogatari (the Tale of Genji). This sculpture is displayed near Uji-bashi bridge.
April 30, 2008


Click on a photo for a larger image.

Gate of Saisho-in Hondo of SAisho-in Fudo-do of Saisho-in
The gate of Saisho-in, a sub-temple of Byodo-in.
March 28, 2012
Hondo, the main hall of Saisho-in.
March 28, 2012
Fudo-do of Saisho-in.
March 28, 2012
Daishoin of Jodo-in Rakan-do of Jodo-in Yorin-an
Hondo of Jodo-in, a sub-temple of Byodo-in.
March 28, 2012
Rakan-do of Jodo-in
March 28, 2012
The roof seen upper left is Shoin of Yorin-an. The building was moved from Fushimi castle in 1601 and is a national important cultural property. It belongs to Jodo-in now.
March 28, 2012