Celebrating the Completion of Conservation Work on Jōruriji Temple's Amida Statues:
Buddhist Sculptures from Minami Yamashiro in Kyoto" />
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Celebrating the Completion of Conservation Work on Jōruriji Temple's Amida Statues:
Buddhist Sculptures from Minami Yamashiro in Kyoto

  • Image of "One of the Nine Amida SculpturesHeian period, 11th–12th century; owned by Jōruriji Temple (National Treasure)Image from the Nara National Museum"

    One of the Nine Amida Sculptures
    Heian period, 11th–12th century; owned by Jōruriji Temple (National Treasure)
    Image from the Nara National Museum

    Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T5
    September 16, 2023 (Sat) - November 12, 2023 (Sun)

    Minami Yamashiro is an area in the southernmost part of Kyoto Prefecture with the Kizu River flowing through its center. It was briefly home to the capital of Japan during the Nara period (710–794), and a distinctive Buddhist culture with large temples and deep ties to the nobility developed in the area. During the Heian period, the creation of nine Amida sculptures based on the nine stages of transmigration became popular, and the sculptures at Jōruriji, also known as Kutaiji, are the only extant sculptures of this kind today. The area is also known for distinctive sandalwood sculptures from Kaijūsenji Temple, which overlooks the ruins of the former capital from the mountains, and the large main image of Zenjōji Temple, which was founded by a monk of Tōdaiji Temple.

    This exhibition commemorates the completion of the conservation of the nine Amida sculptures of Jōruriji, and explores the history and culture of Minami Yamashiro through it Buddhist sculptures.

Highlights of the Exhibition


Minami Yamashiro

Minami Yamashiro lies in the southernmost part of Kyoto Prefecture, near the border with Nara Prefecture. Its name derives from Yamashiro Province, the former provincial name of Kyoto.

The great temples of the ancient capital Heijōkyō (present-day Nara) were built using timber felled in Wazuka and Kasagi, two areas located upstream of the Kizu River, while Mikanohara in the Kamo Valley was also home to Kunikyō, Japan’s capital for a short while. Other regional highlights include the stone pagodas and Buddhist statues found throughout Tōno, an area in the southeastern part of Kizugawa city, and the picturesque tea fields of Ujitawarachō.

The Kizu River cultivated a rich landscape, with Japan’s ancient scenery still visible in this mixture of bounteous nature and arable land. Minami Yamashiro served as a key transportation link between Kyoto and Nara too, with its development also shaped by the cultures of these two cities.



National Treasure
Seated Amida Nyorai (Amitābha)
(from a set of nine Amida statues)

Heian period, 12th century
Jōruriji Temple, Kyoto


This is one of the nine Amida statues installed in Jōruriji Temple’s Hondō (main hall). It demonstrates the gentle sculptural style that was popular from the mid-Heian period. The nine statues symbolize the nine grades of rebirth in the Buddhist Pure Land. During the Heian period, Japan's nobility would often enshrine nine statues of Amida Nyorai, though Jōruriji's statues are now the only surviving examples.


Important Cultural Property
Standing Eleven-Headed Kannon Bosatsu (Ekādaśamukha)

Heian period, 9th century
Kaijūsenji Temple, Kyoto


This deity’s narrowed eyes and fierce expression is counterposed by the variegated beauty of the garments. Meticulous craftsmanship is apparent in the way the statue is mainly carved from a single block of wood, from the upper face down to the dais, the fingertips of the right hand, halfway down the left arm, and even including the cloth hanging over the shoulders. One of the overhead faces is a later replacement, but the work is very well-preserved on the whole.


Important Cultural Property
Standing Eleven-Headed Kannon Bosatsu (Ekādaśamukha)

Heian period, 10th century
Zenjōji Temple, Kyoto


Standing around three meters tall, this huge sculpture is the principal image of Zenjōji, a temple founded by a priest from Nara’s Tōdaiji Temple. Unusually for a Buddhist statue, it was carved from the wood of a cherry tree. The gentle, shallow carving and the youthful face with plump nose and cheeks are both traits of Buddhist statues from the end of the 10th century, with this work emblematic of an era when sculptors were starting to create more Japanized works.


Important Cultural Property
Standing Amida Nyorai (Amitābha)

By Gyōkai
Kamakura period, dated 1227
Gokurakuji Temple, Kyoto


This statue depicts Amida Nyorai descending from the Pure Land to lead departed souls to paradise. It was sculpted by Gyōkai, pupil of the renowned Kamakura-period Buddhist sculptor Kaikei. His teacher's style is apparent in the well-formed face and the intricate lines of the drapery folds, but Gyōkai's own style is also on display in the sharp gaze and the way the garment's many folds branch out like pine needles.



General Information

Period September 16November 12, 2023
Venue Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room T5, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:3017:00
*Last admission 30 minutes before closing.
Closed Mondays (except for September 18 and October 9), September 19, and October 10

Visitors can view this exhibition without making reservations. Tickets may also be purchased at the ticket counter, but you may be asked to wait if the exhibition is crowded.

Adults: ¥1,500 (¥1,300)
University students: ¥800 (¥600)
High school students: ¥500 (¥300)
Junior high school students and under: Free

  • *Prices in parentheses indicate discount ticket prices for advance purchase.
  • *Persons with disabilities are admitted free with one accompanying person each (please present an ID at the ticket booth).
  • *Visitors with tickets for this exhibition may also view the regular exhibitions on the day of their visit at no extra charge.
  • *Advance tickets are available for purchase at museum ticket booths (during museum opening hours, excluding the last 30 minutes) and other major ticketing agencies from July 18 to September 15, 2023.
Access 10-minute walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15-minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station
Organizers Tokyo National Museum, Nikkei Inc., TV TOKYO Corporation, BS TV TOKYO Corporation
With the Special
Sponsorship of
Central Japan Railway Company, TAKENAKA CORPORATION, Nissha Co., Ltd.
With the Special
Assistance of
The Association of Ancient Temples in Mimami Yamashiro
Catalog The exhibition catalog (1,500 yen) is available at the Honkan Special Exhibition Shop and at the museum shop in Honkan (Japanese Gallery).
General Inquiries 050-5541-8600 (Hello Dial)
Exhibition Website https://yamashiro-tokyo.exhn.jp/