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Renovations to roof, stage at Kyoto’s famed Kiyomizu-dera temple completed

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mainichi– KYOTO — Renovations to the roof and stage of Kiyomizu-dera Temple’s Main Hall, a designated national treasure in this western Japan city, have been completed after about four years of work.

A Buddhist memorial service to report it to the Eleven-headed Thousand-armed Kannon Bodhisattva statue, the principal image of the temple in Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward that is open to visitors, was held on the morning of Dec. 3. The temple’s beautifully refurbished stage was opened to the public on that day.

The temple has been undergoing a large-scale overhaul — including the semi-demolition of its nine temple buildings including the Okuno-in Hall, an important cultural property — since 2008. The work at the Main Hall began in January 2017, with its roof measuring 45 meters east to west and 37 meters north to south being replaced for the first time in 50 years. The 75-centimer-thick hinoki Japanese cypress bark roof was changed to one 96 centimeters thick, in accordance with a mid-Edo period (1603-1868) document. The stage now has 166 new hinoki cypress floor boards and the entire process is scheduled to end in March 2021.

After Seihan Mori, the chief abbot of the temple, purified the stage, a monk recited a sutra at the Main Hall on Dec. 3. Mori addressed visitors, saying, “I am deeply moved by the completion of the major repairs. It (the Main Hall) was brought back to its form in the Kanei period (1624-1644). I hope visitors will admire the world of the Buddhist pure land around the stage.”

(Japanese original by Kenji Yagura, Kyoto Bureau)