Rows and rows of almost life-sized bodhisattvas
Sanjusangendo Temple, or Rengoin, sits across the Kyoto National Museum. Designated as a national treasure, it boasts one long hall, unassuming from the exterior, but hosts a very unique space inside.
The 1001 Kannon Bodhisattvas at Sanjusangendo Temple
Yes, the photo above explains the interior in a nutshell. You’ll see the faces of 1000 standing Kannon bodhisattvas, each ever so slightly different. Twenty-something deity statues line the front. Finally, there is one giant seated statue in the center, which by itself is a national treasure.
When you visit, you’ll basically make one big loop around the hall. It’s huge, clocking in about 120 meters long. Sometimes, they’ll also have a place to stand so you can peer more closely into the Kannon bodhisattvas’ faces.
Warning: no photos are allowed inside. Regardless, I’d recommend going, if only to experience being in a massive hall with a bunch of huge Kannon statues. This was certainly a unique experience.