Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 9 of 18 › view all entries
Japanese temples dating from the Nara (710-794), Heian (794-1195), Kamakura (1195-1333) and Muromachi (1333-1460) periods are often very beautiful and there is a large number of them clustered around the ancient capitals of Nara, Kyoto and Kamakura. Although most temples were destroyed in the Onin Wars (1467-1477), many have been rebuilt several times following their original design.
Temple names and buildings
Japanese temple names have the suffix "dera, ji, in", or occasionally "an". The first two indicate a main temple, with "dera" being the Japanese reading of the characters and "ji" being the original Chinese reading. The "in" suffix normally indicates a sub-temple, and "an" denotes an arbour or cottage. Gardens usually have the suffix "en". A "do" suffix is added to the names of halls within a temple. The most common hall names are Hondo or Kondo (Main Hall), Kodo (Lecture Hall) and Kannon-do (Kannon Hall). An Okuno-in is an inner sanctuary dedicated to a specific person, usually Kobo Daishi, Japan's great "saint," or a temple's founder. Monzeki temples are those whose head priest was by tradition a member of the imperial family. They are identified by five parallel white lines on the outer wall.