Stunning Masterpieces You Can Only See in Kyoto

10 Masterpieces You Can Only See in Kyoto
10 Masterpieces You Can Only See in Kyoto | © Mr Hicks46 Flickr

Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital is home to an amazing collection of national treasures. These works of art span from ancient Japan to the 19th century, and are treasured for their historic or artistic value. Let’s take a look at 10 masterpieces you can only see in Kyoto.

1. Rengeo-in Sanjusangen-do

Building, Buddhist Temple

Rengeo-in Sanjusangen-do
© Kyoto-Picture Flickr
The main temple building at Sanjusangen-do is the longest wooden structure in Japan at 120 meters. Completed in 1266 it is famous for its wooden statues of Senju Kannon, which are lined up in an orderly fashion. The 1,001 statues of Senju Kannon all have a different face with a local legend saying that if you look closely, you will see one with the face of the person you want to meet.

2. Senbon Shakado Daihoon-ji Temple

Buddhist Temple

Senbon Shakado Daihon-ji Temple
© Keisuke Mutoh Flickr
The main temple building at Daihoon-ji is believed to be the oldest original building still standing in Kyoto. Built in 1221, it is one of the few medieval buildings remaining in Kyoto giving it national treasure status. It has remained intact despite many wars and fires and is known for its many outstanding Buddhist sculptures.

3. Myokian Taian Tea House

Buddhist Temple

Myokian Taian Teahouse
© Yuya Tamai Flickr
The tea house at Myokian, a Zen Buddhist temple of the Rinzai Sect is the oldest tea house in Japan, and one of only three designated as national treasures. Established during the Muromachi Period (1336-1573), it is believed to be the creation of Sen no Rikyu, a master of the Japanese tea ceremony.

4. Kyoto National Museum

Museum

Kyoto National Museum
© Takatoshi Kurikawa / Alamy Stock Photo
Possibly the best place to see many of Kyoto’s original masterpieces is at the Kyoto National Museum. Many of Kyoto’s famous paintings, statues, lacquerware and artwork is preserved here in this 1897 French baroque style building. The golden age of Kyoto during the Heian Period (794-1192) when the arts flourished is well represented.

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