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33 is also a number sacred to Kannon as the bodhisattva was thought to have had 33 manifestations and the most important pilgrimage route in his honour stops at 33 temples.
There is a single entrance on all four sides, a veranda around the building, and the roof is tiled and gently sloping outwards and upwards at the corners.
All of the gilded figures are designated as Important Cultural Properties of Japan.
124 of them date to the original founding of the temple in the 12th century CE, while the other 876 were made a century later in imitation of the lost originals.
Standing around 1.6 metres (64 inches) tall, many derive from Indian Buddhism and mythology.
A lively group of action figures, they each represent such concepts as beauty, wisdom, prosperity, charity, justice and strength.
The temple was founded in 1164 CE by the retired Emperor Go-Shirakawa (r.
The statues are around one metre tall (40 inches) with the wind god represented holding a bulging sack full of wind while the thunder god is surrounded by a circle of eight small drums.
To illustrate the difficulty of the task, in a contest in 1686 CE the winner, one Wasa Daihachiro, managed to fire only 8,133 of his 13,053 arrows the required distance.
The tradition continues today in the annual ) as opposed to the more common temple architecture influenced by China.
The temple is listed as a National Treasure of Japan.
The Sanjusangendo temple’s official name is Rengeo-in which means ' Temple of the Lotus King Kannon-bosatsu' and is dedicated to Kannon (full name: Juichimen-Senjusengen-Kanzeon), the bodhisattva better known as Guanyin.