Retaining Seven Wonders of Chion-in TempleRepairs to Mieido Hall3 October 2013 - Temples/Shrines
National Treasure Mieido Hall, which is now undergoing repairs, was shown to the press on October 3 at Chion-in Temple in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto. The temple has a policy to carry out the repair without removing the "Wasure-gasa," or forgotten umbrella which is one of Chion-in Temple's Seven Wonders, because of its deterioration, saying they will observe it quietly to ensure that "dreams and things are not broken." The folklore that has been handed down will be passed on to the next generation with the mystery remaining.
"Wasure-gasa," of which only the frame remains now, is stuck into the rafters of the eaves, some 11 meters above the ground to the southeast of Mieido Hall. Some say that master carpenter Jingoro Hidari put it there as a charm against evil, while others say that a white fox, which asked the temple to build its new home at the time of construction of Mieido Hall, left the umbrella in return and protected the building.
Mieido Hall, which was rebuilt in 1639, has been under repair by the Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education since 2005. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2018. After taking off about 90,000 roof tile pieces, the temple unveiled the roof truss to the press. The senior priest at Chion-in Temple, said, "The area with the umbrella can be reused with no modifications, so the repair will be done without removing it. We were concerned about deterioration of the umbrella, and we have a strong desire to keep its present condition."
During these repairs, the board confirmed through verification of marks on roof tiles and other things that there were major repairs in the mid-Edo Period (around 1702) and the late-Meiji Period (1907-10). The under-repair Mieido Hall will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on November 2 and 3. No reservations are necessary, and there is no fee. For more information, call the Kyoto Prefectural Board of Education's Cultural Properties Division at 075-414-5898.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)