History & highlights



SanmonMain Gate, National Treasure

he Sanmon was erected in 1621 by Tokugawa Hidetada, the second Tokugawa shogun and it has a height of about 24 meters, a width of about 50 meters, and about 70,000 roof tiles. This is one of the largest wooden tower gates in existence in Japan. The atmosphere in this tower gate is one of solemn magnificence, as it houses a Buddhist worship hall and images of Shakamuni Buddha and sixteen of his disciples. Also, the ceiling, beams, and pillars have images of heavenly maidens and flying dragons depicted in brilliant colors.

Normally, the inside of the gate is not open to the general public, but when it is opened for special viewings, visitors can see the Shiraki-no-hitsugi (the Plain wood coffins), one of Chion-in’s seven wonders and the glorious adornments in their brilliant colors.