The image of Byodoin is on the 10-yen Japanese coin. It’s the land of perfect bliss that noble men dreamt about 1,000 years ago.

In 1052, Yoritomo FUJIWARA took over a villa from his father and made it Byodoin. He enshrined Amida Nyorai as a god. The building was designated as a world heritage site and is the oldest building in Kyoto as of 1994. From September 2012, renovation began and was finished in 2014.
The building was newly born, using traditional red lacquer called ‘Tando’.

2018-09-10   Visit: Temples & Shrines, Kyoto,


The statue of Murasakishikibu
The statue of Murasakishikibu

A shrine connected with FUJIWARA, a noble man from the Heian period

Byodoin is a famous architectural structure from the Heian period (704~1192). It appeared in the tale of Genji. The shrine was built in the remains of the character’s villa. The tale of Genji is a love story that was written by Murasakishikibu. During this era, high culture was thriving, and you can get an understanding of their glorious lifestyle from the novel. The building and its garden represent the land of perfect bliss that noble men dreamt about 1,000 years ago.
At the time when the Byodoin was built, the influence of Buddhism was becoming weak, because of an epidemic and war. It was believed that there were to be similar disasters for the next 1,000 years at the time.

Bamboo blind

Strict lifestyle contrary to high culture

It is said that people from that era were superstitious. Some noble men would chant their birthday 7 times in a low voice in the morning, brush their teeth, wash their hands, and pray to the Buddhist god towards the west. The day for cutting finger and toe nails, and going out were decided according to Buddhist teachings.
On unlucky days, which was also decided by Buddhist teachings, people stayed at home. It was called “Monoimi”, and people shut their doors, and put up signs that said, “don’t come in front of our house”. It’s said that they would never see anyone, even if their friends came to visit for very important matters.


Amida Nyorai

Noble men at the time were terrified by the possibility of an epidemic and disasters, because the 3rd age of Buddhism (the degenerate age) began.
Shingen, a Buddhist monk, taught the idea that, if you pray to Amida Nyorai and imagine the land of perfect bliss in the west, you’ll be born again without going to hell. This teaching spread among the noble men and buildings, sculptures, and paintings that modeled the land of perfect bliss were created. Byodoin was one of these buildings.

Japanese coins

The 10,000-yen note

Take a look at a 10-yen coin and a 10,000-yen note!

An image of Byodoin is on the Japanese, 10-yen coin and 10,000-yen note.
In 1951, Byodoin was chosen as the suitable image for the 10-yen coin, because its architecture has unique attributions. The bird of Hoo, that appears in Byodoin, was chosen for the 10,000-yen note, because it brings us fortune. Take a look closer when you get a 10-yen coin and a 10,000-yen note!

The wisteria flowers in Byodoin are 250 years old and they bloom from the end of April to early May. There will be many tourists coming to see these beautiful flowers.

After walking around the Byodoin, why not have a cup of Uji tea?
For more recommended info, please take a look at this page too!


Renge-116 Uji, Uji-shi, Kyōto-fu 611-0021

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Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.


Address Renge-116 Uji, Uji-shi, Kyōto-fu 611-0021
Hours 8:30~17:30(Last entry is 17:15/ Museum closes its reception at 16:45)
Price 600 yen for adults, 400 yen for high school students, 400 yen for junior high students, and 300 yen for elementary school children Group discount: 500 yen for adults, 500 yen for high school students, 300 yen for junior high students, 200 yen for elementary school children ※An extra 100 yen is charged to see the inner parts of the Byodoin building.
Close No scheduled holidays
Access 10 min walk from JR Uji station
Phone 0774-21-2861