Yokawa-chūdō-hall, located in the Yokawa area of Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple*, is famous for its building in Kake-zukuri like ‘Kiyomizu no Butai’ (the stage of Kiyomizu) of Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. Kake-zukuri is a building style which secures the underfloor using long pillars and crosspieces on the place with a large height difference like a cliff, and constructs a building on it.

By the way, why was this chūdō-hall built in such an unstable place? Such a question arose in me.

Then, I investigated the reason, and found that the model of this building was ‘Kentōshi-sen’ (the ship for envoy to Tang China during Nara and Heian periods). Looking at with such knowledge, to me, the ground with height difference looked like the surface of the sea with high waves going up and down, and at the same time, the building seemed to create a ship-like atmosphere floating in the waves of the sea.
Yokawa-chūdō-hall is just an elaborate metaphor, which makes us feel how courageous it was to go abroad to learn at the risk of life. Given immeasurable encouragement, I left the building.


*Hieizan Enryaku-ji Temple is the head temple of the Tendai sect of Japan located on Mt. Hiei between Kyoto City and Otsu City of Shiga Prefecture, which was opened by Saichō (767-822), a monk in the early Heian period.