NARA – Kofukuji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site here, will offer the public a rare opportunity to see the interior of its five-story pagoda.
Visits are scheduled from October 9 to November 23 and again from March 1 to 31, 2022.
Although the interior is generally closed to the public, the doors to the first floor will be opened to reveal the central column and the Buddhist statues encased within.
Later next year, the temple, which has national treasure status, will undergo a complete renovation, the first since 1900. The entire structure will be covered with protective scaffolding during the works. .
The pagoda was erected during the Nara period (710-784) at the encouragement of Empress Komyo, the wife of Emperor Shomu. It was destroyed by fire five times but rebuilt each time.
The current 50-meter-high tower was rebuilt during the Muromachi period (1336-1573).
Kofukuji has teamed up with Hakkaisan Brewery Co. in Minami-Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, to produce a special sake to mark the occasion.
The sake was brewed in January with a production limited to 2,000 bottles (approximately 720 milliliters per bottle) of nihonshu yongo. It was aged from the end of February to the end of September in a “yukimuro” snow cellar filled with around 1,000 tonnes of snow on the company’s premises.
“Sake experiences less stress than when refrigerated, which explains its mellow flavor,” said Tsutomu Tanaka, 59, the chief brewer of “toji”.
Eishun Moriya, 71, chief abbot of Kofukuji, visited the yukimuro in March. He named the sake Konoma, meaning between the trees, the next month and wrote the name in bold, which appears on the label.
The pagoda will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4.45 p.m.).
Admission is 1,000 yen ($ 9) for adults and students, 600 yen for middle and high school students, and 400 yen for elementary school students. The price includes an amulet as a lucky charm.
Konoma sake will be sold at the temple’s national treasure room.
For any request, visit the official website at (https://www.kohfukuji.com/english/).