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Rokkaku-do temple

六角堂
Area Central
Category Temple

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Rokkakudo is the eighteenth stop on the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage* of thirty-three Buddhist temples in the Kansai area of central Japan. Its official name is Chohoji, but since the main hall is hexagonal, the temple is called Rokkakudo ("hexagon hall") or known by Kyotoites affectionately as Rokkaku-san.
Rokkakudo was said to have been built by Prince Shotokutaishi in 587. After its establishment, it caught fire several times and was rebuilt each time. Due to this, the current building is a structure from the year 1877.

*2 : a Japanese regent, statesman, and a politician of the Asuka period(538-710) in Japan he served under Empress Suiko.

*1 : 33 temples in the Kinki area containing a statue of Avalokitesvara.

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Rokkakudo's sanmon gate (the most important gate in Zen temples, found inside the first gate).
As you pass under it, you'll see a shidarezakura (weeping cherry blossom) tree on the right and beyond that the main temple or hall, the hondou.

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The grounds of Rokkakudo are not very wide. It takes only a few minutes to walk around the place. But you'll find that there are many interesting sights , such as the one above, to investigate throughout.

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This is on the south side of the hondo(main hall). It's called the hesoishi or the "belly button stone". At one point, Rokkakudo was the center of Kyoto, so it was supposedly called the "belly button of Kyoto", and from there this stone took its name.

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These are the remains of a pond where Prince Shotokutaishi was said to bathe.

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These are the juroku rakan or 16 disciples of the Buddha. Rakan isthe name given to monks who guard the teachings of the Buddha. The number sixteen represents the cardinal directions, symbolizing the idea that the rakan are everywhere.  If you look closely, around the rakan statues you'll notice jaki, small imps or mischievous spirits. But don't worry, the jaki here at Rokkakudo are said to have all been converted.

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(L)North-facing Jizo
These jizo (small stone statues, said to watch over children and travelers) are facing north in the direction of the Kyoto Imperial Palace (Gosho), standing guard over the royal family.
(R)Warabe jizo
Here are jizo lying down, standing, sitting and in many other poses.
Each of these jizo is in a pose connected to their religious practice. They are said to look after small children in particular.

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Here is Rokkakudo's main hall from behind. If you look at it from this angle, you can clearly see its hexagonal shape.

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We think that Rokkakudo is an easy site to visit in the heart of Kyoto. Also, since it's free, you can come and pay your respects without spending a cent.

Address 248 Donomaecho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto city, Kyoto
京都市中京区六角通東洞院西入堂之前町248
Tel 075-221-2686
Open 6:00a.m. - 5:00p.m.
Admission free
URL http://www.ikenobo.jp/rokkakudo/index.html
Access 3 minute walk from Subway KarasumaOike
5 minute walk from Hankyu Karasuma Station
2 minute walk from City Bus Stop SanjoKarasuma
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