SANJUSANGENDO HALL, KYOTO

After checking into the Westin our first stop (after a big Japanese lunch) was this hall, home to 1001 life-sized wooden statues of Kannon, goddess of mercy.

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Like many of the temples, they offered souvenirs and in this case, an important question.

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The temple itself is amazing (but as you can see – no pictures allowed).

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It is the home to a ritual where Buddhist priests touch people’s heads with a sacred willow to cure headaches and popular for an annual archery (long bow) contest that started hundreds and hundreds of years ago. As you can see by the length of the building, there is lots of room for the 1001 carvings in this 800 year old building. I wish I would have been allowed to shoot the carvings, the detail was jaw-dropping.

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Surrounded by other shrines and beautiful gardens, it was a great first stop on our Kyoto tour.

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Good start.

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