歳時記
Time of year

Traditional Events

March 2 Memorial Ceremony for the Regent Yorimichi (Kanpaku Yorimichi-ki)

Commemorating Yorimichi Fujiwara, the Regent (Kanpaku) at the time when Byodoin Temple was founded, this ceremony is the only ceremony that takes place inside Phoenix Hall (Hou-ou-do) noting the significance of the establishment of Byodoin Temple. The ceremony is held in March according to the present solar calendar which is around February 2nd in the lunar calendar since Yorimichi passed away on February 2nd, 1074. It is widely known as a ceremony welcoming spring to the southern part of Kyoto Prefecture.
General visitors can watch the ceremony from across the pond.

関白頼通忌関白頼通忌
May 26 Memorial Ceremony for Yorimasa Minamoto (Yorimasa-ki)

On May 26th 1180, a samurai warrior named Yorimasa Minamoto committed suicide on the lawn called Ougi-no Shiba in the precinct of Byodoin Temple after he was beaten by his enemy, the Heike Clan. In the ceremony dedicated to Yorimasa, Buddhist priests chant sutras in front of his grave at Saisho-in Temple and on Ougi-no Shiba lawn. General visitors can watch the ceremony.

頼政忌頼政忌
December 31 New Year’s Eve Ceremony (Joya-e)

After a ceremony held at Phoenix Hall on New Year’s Eve, the large temple bell is rung 108 times around midnight. This is called Joya-no Kane and general visitors can join in ringing the bell from 23:30 (a group of people ring the bell together). Special ema (wooden votive tablet) with the design of the Chinese Zodiac animal of the year will be distributed on a first come, first served, basis.)

除夜会

Spring Flowers

(Sakura)Cherry

Best time: Late March to early April

Cherry trees stand around Aji-ike Pond as if surrounding Phoenix Hall.
Several different varieties of cherry grow in the precinct including Shidare-zakura, Somei Yoshino, and Yama-zakura.

  • 桜
  • 桜
  • 桜
  • 桜
  • 桜
  • 桜

(Fuji)Wisteria

Best time: Late April to early May

There are three wisteria trellises in the precinct but the one by Aji-ike Pond is said to be 280 years old and is just superb. The longest clusters of flowers can grow over 1 meter long and almost reach the ground. Gorgeous clusters of wisteria look like a purple waterfall.

  • 藤
  • 藤
  • 藤
  • 藤
  • 藤

(Tsutsuji)Azalea

Best time: Late April to middle of May

Azalea flowers begin to bloom around the same time as wisteria flowers. Two different kinds of azaleas, Hirado and Kirishima, grow in the precinct and one blooms beautifully first and the other follows slightly later.

  • つつじ
  • つつじ
  • つつじ
  • つつじ

(Boke)Japanese Quince

Best time: Early to late March

There is a large Japanese quince tree in front of Jodo-in Temple which charms visitors with its cluster of vivid red flowers.

  • ぼけ
  • ぼけ
Check the location on the seasonal flower map

Summer Flowers

(Byodoin Hasu)Byodoin Temple Lotus

Best time: Late June to early August

One tiny lotus seed was discovered in a layer of earth during the excavation research on the grounds of Aji-ike Pond in 1999. Scientific research proved that the seed was from the late Edo period (about 200 years ago from today) and this seed sprouted successfully. This is the unique variety of lotus only grown in Byodoin Temple.
On the wall (National Treasure) behind the main statue of Amida Buddha (Amida Nyorai) in Phoenix Hall there is a depiction of lotus petals which look exactly like those of this lotus.

  • 平等院蓮
  • 平等院蓮
  • 平等院蓮

(Hasu)Lotus

Best time: Late June to early August

Dozens of lotus pots are placed around the precinct around the time when the Byodoin Temple Lotus blooms. There are a number of lotus varieties, such as Jodairen, Gyozankoren, and Konrinren.
No matter which variety it is, lotuses bloom in the early morning and close in the afternoon. It is therefore recommended to visit the temple in the morning to enjoy their beauty.

  • 蓮
  • 蓮
  • 蓮
  • 蓮

(Suiren)Water Lily

Best time: Late May to September

Clusters of lovely water lilies quietly grow on the southeast side of Aji-ike Pond which is often compared to Takara-ike Pond in the Buddhist Pure Land.

  • 睡蓮
  • 睡蓮
  • 睡蓮

(Sarusuberi)Crape Myrtle

Best time: August to early September

Crape myrtle pollen was discovered in the earth layer from the time when Byodoin Temple was established during excavation research on the garden grounds. Crape myrtle growing on the south side of the pond is said to recreate exactly the same view that Yorimichi enjoyed in the Heian period.

  • さるすべり
  • さるすべり
  • さるすべり
Check the location on the seasonal flower map

Autumn Plant

Colored Leaves

Best time: Middle of November to early December

Approx. 200 Japanese maple trees in the precinct change color and surround the precinct with bright red. Phoenix Hall surrounded by this red is just stunning.

  • 紅葉
  • 紅葉
  • 紅葉
  • 紅葉
  • 紅葉
  • 紅葉
Check the location on the seasonal flower map

Winter Flower

(Muromachi Tsubaki)Muromachi Camellia

Best time: February to March

Camellia seeds were discovered in the earth layer from the Muromachi period during excavation research on the garden grounds. The seed sprouted and the first flower bloomed in 2003. Meet the elegant camellia which finally awoke after a 600-year sleep.

  • 室町椿
  • 室町椿

(Sazanka)Camellia Sasanqua

Best time: December to February

Bushes of camellia sasanqua nestle by the Hoshokan Museum, around the South Gate entrance. Lovely sazanqua flowers add vigorous colors during the cold winter season.

  • さざんか
  • さざんか

Snow

Best time: Late December to February

Uji is located in southern Kyoto Prefecture which only receives a large snowfall a few times a year. If you visit Byodoin Temple on a deep snowy day, you will witness the extremely unusual view of Phoenix Hall covered with snow.

  • 雪
  • 雪
  • 雪
  • 雪
Check the location on the seasonal flower map