National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Konan Area -
Shiga Prefecture boasts a trove of cultural assets. So much so, in fact, that the region ranks third in Japan for the number of buildings designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Assets. Here's an introduction to three temples in the Konan area.
The main temple at Chojyuji is quite literally a treasure-trove of history, containing many Important Cultural Assets, including a decorative cabinet that is a National Treasure. The repository behind the main temple also houses a large statue of a seated Amitabha, almost 3m in size and made from gold.
The main temple has a cypress bark roof and is a designated National Treasure. Immediately behind it there is a perfectly formed three storey pagoda, to which the trees beyond provide a beautiful backdrop. The interior of the lowest section features a Zen dais, and the walls, four pillars and other locations are all decorated with Buddhist images and bright colors.
The palace-style, solemn and solid main temple is representative of Tendai Buddhist construction. It barely survived the war fires of Nobunaga Oda, and is now a designated National Treasure. The interior also features no less than 15 Buddha statues, including representative pieces from the Tempyo period (710 - 794) and the Heian period (794 - 1185) and a wooden seated Bhaisajyaguru that is a Important Cultural Asset. All of them are more than worth making the trip to see!