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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Higurashi-mon Nishi Honganji


The Higurashi-mon (Higurashi Gate) is an ornate, Chinese-style entrance gate (kara-mon) on the southern side of Nishi Honganji Temple in Kyoto close to the Omiya campus of Ryukoku University.

Higurashi-mon, Nishi-Honganji Temple, Kyoto

The Higurashi-mon also known as "Sunset Gate" or "Day Long Gate" - as one could spend the whole day admiring its beauty - was once part of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Fushimi Castle, where it was known as the Chokushi-mon or Imperial Messenger's Gate before it was moved to Nishi Honganji in 1632.

Higurashi-mon, Nishi-Honganji Temple

The flamboyant carvings depict various real and mythical animals including Chinese lions (shishi), peacocks, tigers, dragons, plants and flowers such as pine trees and peonies as well as scenes from Chinese history.

The roof of the gate is made from cypress bark and is a plain counterpoint to the lavish carving, bright painting and gilded metal work below.

Higurashi Gate, Nishi-Honganji Temple, Kyoto

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