Located between Yasaka Shrine, famed for its Gion Matsuri, and Kiyomizudera, known for its enormous wooden stage, stands the 46 meter high Yasaka Pagoda, built around a single wooden shaft.
The pagoda’s official name is Hokanji (法観寺). This buddhist temple was founded by Shotoku Taishi (573–621) and occupied once a large area in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district. Only the pagoda has survived, but it stands proudly among the small houses of this area.
The pagoda burned down in 1179 when Kiyomizudera had a disagreement with Yasaka Shrine. Shogun Minamoto Yorimoto (1147-1199) had it reconstructed in 1191, but it was destroyed by fire in 1291, and again in 1436. The current building was erected in 1440 by Shogun Yoshinori Ashikaga (1394-1441).
The pagoda is one of my favorite spots in Kyoto. It used to lie slightly off the major tourist routes and before Japan became a popular tourist destination, you could often wander the street in front of it all by yourself. For many years, electrical lines destroyed the view. But they were put underground, so once again the pagoda can be admired without obstructions.
Unsurprisingly, Yasaka Pagoda is a popular subject of ukiyoe prints.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). Kyoto 1910s: Yasaka Pagoda, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on January 29, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/301/yasaka-pagoda
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