Take the bull by the horns!
A Buddhist building that despite the marks of time, has been able to keep many works of art, which now belong to Japanese National Treasure.
Considered the oldest temple of Kyoto, the Koryuji was built in the early seventh century. Having undergone the onslaught of the fires of 818 and 1150, it was rebuilt several times. Today the temple exhibits a large number of objects including statues of the Buddha, reflecting the cultural wealth of the time.
One of the most famous is a wooden image representing the Bodhisattva Maitreya, seated in a contemplative and dreamy pose called "Hokan Miroku." This is one of the few pieces that have survived numerous fires and was also listed as National Treasure in Japan in 1951. 123 centimeters tall, this representation of Buddha, with a sweet smile and calm expression, is famous throughout the country and was even praised by the German philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969), on a trip to Kyoto, for the perfection of its representation and strength emanating from its posture. Most of the works of art are in the Reihoukan Museum and the Keigu-in (National Treasure), located right next to the temple.
The temple is better-known for its bull festival traditionally held in June, but which is currently suspended. There is no blood in the fighting. These festivities, which are often canceled, are akin to "bull sumo wrestling", as the animals try to push each other over a line drawn on the ground.
Address, timetable & access
Phone+81 (0) 75 861 1461.