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A sazae-do is a uniquely designed Buddhist temple, which once was popular in eastern Japan.

It is thought that more than ten such uniquely designed Buddhist temples, the so-called sazae-do, were built in eastern Japan in the 18th-19th century. However only four still remain in their original form. The interior of sazae-do has a spiral corridor, and 33 statues of the Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) statues are placed on the way from the entrance to the top of the corridor. It is believed that by climbing up this corridor, visitors to the sazae-do can obtain the same benefit as if they had visited the same number of temples as the Buddha statues. The two photos show one of sazae-do temples standing at the top of Iimoriyama hill, Aizu City, Fukushima Prefecture, with clockwise spiral corridors inside. This was built in 1796 and has been well maintained since, and is now designated as an important cultural property. Interestingly, after climbing to the top of this corridor, it leads to a corridor for descent only. In other words, the corridor has a double spiral structure, one for ascending and the other for descending, and is the only such designed sazae-do in Japan. Incidentally, the word "sazae" means "turban shell" in Japanese, and this kind of building is called so because it looks like a sazae.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,

Masahisa Takaki.

全国通訳案内士 高木聖久。


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