Ōgane (Large Bell) and the Daishōrō (Great Bell Tower)Important Cultural Properties
With a height of 3.3 meters and a diameter of 2.7 meters, this bell weighs seventy tons. The size of the bell at Chion-in places it alongside the bells at Hōkōji (also in Kyoto) and Tōdaiji (in Nara). This massive bell was cast in 1636, during the time of Ōyo Reigan, the 32nd chief high priest of Chion-in.
Also, the tower which supports this bell was built in 1678, during the time of Genyo Manmu, the 38th chief high priest of Chion-in. The tower has a quiet, yet dignified design, which makes it suited to house one of the largest bells in Japan. This bell is only rung during the memorial services for Hōnen (the Gyoki Daie, held in April) and on New Year’s Eve, where it is rung 108 times. On New Year’s Eve, the bell is struck by a team consisting of one leader with sixteen assistants, and the sound of Chion-in’s bell on New Year’s Eve is one of the poetic charms of winter in Kyoto.