Built in 1164, Sanjusangendo Temple impresses in scope, size, and detail, with 1001 statues of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, flanking the main image of a giant, seated Kannon. Carved in the 12th and 13th centuries, the statues are arranged in 50 columns, each two rows deep. It's said that the Kannon witness and protect against human suffering. To aid in their mission, the Kannon are equipped with 11 heads and 1,000 arms.
"Sanjusangendo" translates to hall with thirty three spaces between the columns," describing a traditional measurement system. The wooden temple building extends 118 meters (387 feet), making it the longest of its kind in the world. Originally built for former emperor Go-Shirakawa, the Temple today remains a religious destination and popular tourist stop. It represents some of the most exquisite Japanese Buddhist sculpture and architecture in the country.
Hakubutsukan-Sanjusangendo-mae bus stop is located 10 minutes from Kyoto Station by bus numbers 100, 206, or 208 or a 20 minute walk. The temple is also a five minute walk from Schichijo Station along the Keihan Line. A parking lot is available but has limited spots. The temple is open from 9:00am - 4:00pm every day of the year, and a small entrance fee is required.