MieidōHall that Houses the Image of Hōnen, National Treasure
After passing through the Sanmon (main gate) and climbing to the top of the stone steps, a magnificent structure with an enormous roof on the left hand side will come into view. Since this building houses the miei (sacred image) of the founder, Hōnen, this building is called the Mieidō (hall that houses the image of Hōnen). This hall serves as the center of the Chion-in temple complex. This hall was rebuilt in 1639 by the third Tokugawa shogun, Iemitsu. The architectural style of the building is Japanese with some Chinese elements. The building is of a massive scale, with a length of 35 meters and a width of 45 meters, and a three meter wide verandah encircling the entire structure. This magnificent hall is fitting as the center for the nembutsu teachings and has welcomed many worshippers since long ago. To this day, many can be seen worshipping here, and especially during the services for Bon-e (services held during the summer for the benefit of deceased relatives), Higan-e (Buddhist services performed during the equinox), and Gyoki daie (services held in memorial of Hōnen) as well as the O-minugui-shiki (ceremony in which the image of Hōnen is purified) the Mieidō becomes alive with worshippers.
Also, there are many things to see in this hall, such as the wasuregasa (the forgotten umbrella), one of the seven wonders of the Chion-in, the door stoppers shaped like a water imp, turtle, and cicada, along with the “leftover tiles” on the roof.