You might have seen it on an episode of Lost, a stand-in for a temple in South Korea. It is the temple of Byodo-In, a half-size replica of its namesake in Uji, Japan, built in 998 AD and considered a national treasure and a UN World Heritage Site.
The temple here is built mostly with concrete, the original being wooden. This may have been for practical reasons, for the one in Japan was repeatedly devastated by fire. It is also much brighter than the original; its posts and eaves are painted red, while the original is not painted at all.
The temple is very impressive on first sight. The Phoenix Hall in the center of the temple houses a 9-ft carving of the Buddha, painted with gold lacquer, later covered over with gold leaf. To the left of the temple is a large brass and tin peace bell, which you are free to ring by swinging the large wooden clapper suspended on ropes. Surrounding the temple are large ponds filled with koi. The grounds are also surrounded by lovely gardens.
With the Ko’olau Mountains in the background, Byodo-In is one the most beautiful structures on the Islands.
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