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Photos: Tadao Ando's Water Temple (Shingonshu Honpukuji)

honpukuji - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

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The Kobe region has many works by Tadao Ando, including several of my favorites. Water Temple (Shingonshu Honpukuji) is at the top of that list. It is a small and simple work, and perhaps that's why it rates so highly with me. The building holds up an elliptical pond filled with lily pads. Concrete walls fan out behind the pond to form a flower-like enclosure for the space and create a transition path as you enter the complex.

You descend down stairs through the center of the pond and enter the temple itself. At first you are cast into darkness as you walk into a circular hallway, but as you approach the shrine area, more daylight is able to pierce through and bounce off the walls to create a red glow. As you exit back out of the space, the circular hallway leads you into increasing daylight until you return back to the starting point.

Honpukuji is not too difficult to get to. I took a JR bus from Sannomiya station in Kobe to Awaji Yumebutai (bus stop 5 at Sannomiya, purchase tickets inside, 45-minute ride). There is a local bus that runs from Yumebutai to Honpukuji, but I opted to walk as the local bus is not very frequent. I turned right on the main road leaving Yumebutai, walked about 20 minutes, and turned right on the road where the police box was (Koban). From there, it's about a 5 minute walk up the hill.

The JR bus was full leaving Yumebutai, so I took a local bus to Maiko station instead. From there I was able to catch a JR train back to Kobe.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on May 19, 2009 11:41 PM.

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