Pagodas in Japan are called
Of the Japanese pagoda's many forms, some are built in wood and are collectively known as mokutō (木塔, lit. wood pagoda), but most are carved out of stone (sekitō (石塔, lit. stone pagoda). Wood pagodas are large buildings with either two stories (like the tahōtō (多宝塔, lit. Tahō pagoda), see photo below) or an odd number of stories. Extant wood pagodas with more than two storeys have almost always either three storeys (and are therefore called sanjū-no-tō (三重塔, lit. three-storeyed pagoda)) or five (and are called gojū-no-tō (五重塔, lit. five-storeyed pagoda). Stone pagodas are nearly always small, usually well below 3 metres, and as a rule offer no usable space. If they have more than one storey, pagodas are called tasōtō (多層塔, lit. multi-storied pagoda) or tajūtō (多重塔, lit. multi-storied pagoda).
A pagoda's size is measured in ken , where a ken is the interval between two pillars of a traditional-style building. A tahōtō for example can be either 5x5 ken or 3x3 ken. The word is usually translated in English as "bay" and is better understood as an indication of proportions than as a unit of measurement.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Design and structure evolution * 1.2 Loss of importance of the pagoda within the garan
* 2 Stone pagodas
* 3 Wooden pagodas
* 3.1 Tasōtō * 3.2 Hōtō
* 3.3.1 Daitō
* 3.4 Sotōba
* 4 Gallery of pagodas in Japan * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Bibliography
Japan's oldest three-storeyed pagoda at
The stupa was originally a simple mound containing the
With the birth of new sects in later centuries, the pagoda lost
importance and was consequently relegated to the margins of the garan.
Temples of the
Jōdo sects rarely have a pagoda. During the Kamakura
Pagodas originally were reliquaries and did not contain sacred
images, but in Japan many, for example
DESIGN AND STRUCTURE EVOLUTION
The edge of a pagoda's eaves forms a straight line, with each following edge being shorter than the other. The more difference in length (a parameter called teigen (逓減, gradual diminution) in Japanese) between stories, the more solid and secure the pagoda seems to be. Both teigen and the finial are greater in older pagodas, giving them a sense of solidity. Vice versa, recent pagodas tend to be steeper and have shorter finials, creating svelter silhouettes.
From the structural point of view, old pagodas had a stone base (心礎, shinso) over which stood the main pillar (心柱, shinbashira). Around it would be erected the first story's supporting pillars, then the beams supporting the eaves and so on. The other stories would be built over the completed one, and on top of the main pillar would at last be inserted the finial. In later eras, all of the supporting structures would be erected at once, and later to them were fixed parts of more cosmetic function.
Early pagodas had a central pillar that penetrated deep into the ground. With the evolution of architectural techniques, it was first put to rest on a base stone at ground level, then it was shortened and put to rest on beams at the second story to allow the opening of a room.
Their role within the temple declined gradually while they were being
functionally replaced by main halls (kondō). Originally the
centerpiece of the
Tendai garan , they were moved later to
its edges and finally abandoned, in particular by the
LOSS OF IMPORTANCE OF THE PAGODA WITHIN THE GARAN
A reconstruction of
Because of the relics they contained, wooden pagodas used to be the
centerpiece of the garan , the seven edifices considered indispensable
for a temple. They gradually lost importance and were replaced by the
kondō (golden hall), because of the magic powers believed to lie
within the images the building housed. This loss of status was so
A rare 16-story stone pagoda at
Stone pagodas (sekitō) are usually made of materials like apatite or granite , are much smaller than wooden ones and are finely carved. Often they bear sanskrit inscriptions, Buddhist figurines and Japanese lunar calendar dates nengō . Like wooden ones, they are mostly classifiable on the basis of the number of stories as tasōtō or hōtō, but there are however some styles hardly ever seen in wood, namely the gorintō, the muhōtō, the hōkyōintō and the kasatōba.
With a few very rare exceptions, tasōtō (also called tajūtō) have
an odd number of stories, normally comprised between three and
thirteen. They are usually less than three meters tall, but they can
occasionally be much taller. The tallest still extant is a 13-story
pagoda at Hannya-ji in Nara , which is 14.12 m. They are often
* Media related to tasōtō at Wikimedia Commons
A hōtō at Ankokuron-ji
A hōtō (宝塔, lit. jewel stupa) is a pagoda consisting of four parts: a low foundation stone, a cylindrical body with a rounded top, a four-sided roof and a finial . Unlike the similar tahōtō (see section below) it has no enclosed pent roof (mokoshi ) around its circular core. Like the tahōtō it takes its name from Buddhist deity Tahō Nyorai. The hōtō was born during the early Heian period , when the Tendai and Shingon sects first arrived in Japan. Indeed, because it does not exist on the Asian continent, it is believed to have been invented in Japan.
There used to exist full-size hōtō, but almost only miniature ones survive, normally made of stone and/or metal.
* Media related to hōtō at Wikimedia Commons
The gorintō (五輪塔, lit. five ring tower) is a pagoda found
almost only in Japan and believed to have been first adopted by the
Tendai sects during the mid
Heian period . It is used as
a tomb marker or as a cenotaph, and is therefore a common sight in
Buddhist temples and cemeteries. It is also called gorinsotōba
(五輪卒塔婆) ("five-ringed stupa") or goringedatsu
(五輪解脱), where the term sotoba is a transliteration of the
In all its variations, the gorintō is made of five blocks (although that number can sometimes be difficult to detect), each having one of the five shapes which symbolize of the Five Elements believed to be the basic building blocks of reality: earth (cube), water (sphere), fire (pyramid), air (crescent), and ether, energy, or void (lotus). The last two rings (air and ether) are visually and conceptually united into a single subgroup.
* Media related to gorintō at Wikimedia Commons
Main article: Hōkyōintō A hōkyōintō
The hōkyōintō (宝篋印塔) is a large stone pagoda so called because it originally contained the Hōkyōin (宝篋印) dharani (陀羅尼) sūtra . It was originally used as a cenotaph for the King of Wuyue - Qian Liu in China.
The hōkyōintō tradition in Japan is believed to have begun during the Asuka period (550–710 CE). They used to be made of wood and started to be made in stone only during the Kamakura period. It is also during this period that they started to be used as tombstones and cenotaphs. The hōkyōintō started to be made in its present form during the Kamakura period . Like a gorintō, it is divided in five main sections representing the five elements of Japanese cosmology. The sūtra it sometimes hides contain all the pious deeds of a Tathagata Buddha, and the faithful believe that, by praying in front of the hōkyōintō, their sins will be canceled, during their lives they will be protected from disasters and after death they will go to heaven.
* Media related to hōkyōintō at Wikimedia Commons
The muhōtō (無縫塔, lit. no stitch tower) or rantō (卵塔,
lit. egg tower) is a pagoda which usually marks the gravesite of a
Buddhist priest. It was originally used by just the
* Media related to muhōtō at Wikimedia Commons
A kasatōba (笠塔婆, umbrella stupa) (see photo in the gallery
below) is simply a square stone post placed over a square base and
covered by a pyramidal roof. Over the roof stand a bowl-shaped stone
and a lotus-shaped stone. The shaft can be carved with
* Media related to kasatōba at Wikimedia Commons
The sōrintō (相輪橖) is a type of small pagoda consisting just of a pole and a sōrin .
Yakushi-ji's Eastern Pagoda
Wooden tasōtō are pagodas with an odd number of stories. Some may
appear to have an even number because of the presence between stories
of purely decorative enclosed pent roofs called mokoshi A famous
Yakushi-ji 's eastern pagoda (see photo to the left), which
seems to have six stories but has in fact only three. Another is the
tahōtō (see below), which has a single story, plus a mokoshi under
its roof, and seems therefore to have two stories. There existed
specimen with seven or nine stories, but all extant ones have either
three (and are therefore called sanjū-no-tō (三重塔, lit.
three-storied pagoda)) or five (and are called gojū-no-tō
(五重塔, lit. five-storied pagoda). （Tanzan Jinja in Sakurai,
Nara , has a pagoda having thirteen, which however for structural
reasons is classified separately, and is not considered a tasōtō.)
The oldest three-storied pagoda stands at Nara's
* Media related to tasōtō at Wikimedia Commons
A hōtō at Yakuō-ji, Tokushima prefecture
A wooden hōtō is a rare type of pagoda consisting of four parts: a low foundation stone, a cylindrical body with a rounded top, a pyramidal roof and a finial . Unlike the similar tahōtō (see section below) it has no square enclosed pent roof (mokoshi ) around its cylindrical core. Like the tahōtō it takes its name from Buddhist deity Tahō Nyorai. The hōtō was born during the early Heian period , when the Tendai and Shingon Buddhist sects first arrived in Japan.
There used to be many full-size hōtō, but almost only miniature
ones survive, normally made of stone and/or metal. A good example of
full-size hōtō can be seen at
Ikegami Honmon-ji in Nishi-magome ,
* Media related to hōtō at Wikimedia Commons
The tahōtō is a type of wooden pagoda unique for having an even number of stories (two), the first square with a rounded core, the second circular. This style of tō was created surrounding the cylindrical base of a hōtō (see above) with a square, roofed corridor called mokoshi . The core of the pagoda has just one story with its ceiling below the circular second story, which is inaccessible. Like the tasōtō and the rōmon , in spite of its appearance it therefore offers usable space only at the ground floor.
Because its kind does not exist either in Korea or in China, it is
believed to have been invented in Japan during the
Heian period (794 -
1185). The tahōtō was important enough to be considered one of the
seven indispensable buildings (the so-called shichidō garan ) of a
The floorplan of Negoro-ji's daitō
Usually the base of a tahōtō is 3-ken across with four main, supporting pillars called shitenbashira (四天柱) at the corners (see drawing). The room the shitenbashira form houses a sanctuary where the main objects of worship (the gohonzon ) are enshrined.
Larger, 5x5 ken tahōtō however exist and are called daitō (大塔,
lit. large pagoda) because of their dimensions. This is the only type
of tahōtō to retain the original structure with a wall separating
the corridor (mokoshi) from the core of the structure. This type of
pagoda used to be common but, of all daitō ever built, only three are
still extant. One is at
Wakayama prefecture 's
* Media related to daitō at Wikimedia Commons * Media related to tahōtō at Wikimedia Commons
Often offertory strips of wood with five subdivisions and covered
with elaborate inscriptions called sotōba (卒塔婆) can be found at
tombs in Japanese cemeteries (see photo in the gallery below). The
inscriptions contain sūtra and the posthumous name of the dead
person. Their name derives from the
* Media related to Sotōba at Wikimedia Commons
GALLERY OF PAGODAS IN JAPAN
A gorintō *
A hōkyōintō *
A hōtō *
A stone tasōtō *
Two kasatōba at Hannya-ji, Nara *
Ichijō-ji 's sanjū-no-tō (three storied pagoda). It was built in 1171. *
A pagoda at a Shinto shrine, Itsukushima Shrine *
A sotōba. Clearly visible is the division in five sections *
* ^ Odd numbers are strongly favoured by Chinese numerology and Buddhism. They are supposed to represent yang , that is, the male and positive principle, and are therefore considered lucky. * ^ Temple compound, ideally composed of seven buildings. * ^ Besides being decorative in themselves,they are also used also to hide structural components which would otherwise mar the pagoda's feel. * ^ On the subject, see also the articles Hisashi , Mokoshi and Moya . * ^ For reasons of space, however, the wall separating the mokoshi from the core of the pagoda is present only in large tahōtō called daitō (see the next section).
* ^ A B C D E Iwanami Kōjien Japanese dictionary * ^ A B C D Jaanus, Tou * ^ Hamashima, Masashi (1999). Jisha Kenchiku no Kanshō Kiso Chishiki (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shibundō. p. 88. * ^ Fujita Masaya, Koga Shūsaku, ed. (April 10, 1990). Nihon Kenchiku-shi (in Japanese) (September 30, 2008 ed.). Shōwa-dō. p. 79. ISBN 4-8122-9805-9 . * ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T Fujita & Koga 2008 , pp. 79–81 * ^ Scheid, Japanische Pagoden * ^ A B *Tamura, Yoshiro (2000). Japanese Buddhism - A Cultural History (First ed.). Tokyo: Kosei Publishing Company. pp. 40–41 pages. ISBN 4-333-01684-3 . * ^ A B JAANUS, Sekitou * ^ JAANUS, Tasoutou * ^ A B C D JAANUS, Houtou * ^ A B JAANUS - Gorintou * ^ A B C D Yatsushiro Municipal Museum * ^ JAANUS - Muhoutou * ^ JAANUS - Kasatouba * ^ A B JAANUS, Daitou
* Iwanami Kōjien (広辞苑) Japanese dictionary, 6th Edition (2008), DVD version * "JAANUS". Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System . Retrieved 19 August 2010. * Fujita Masaya, Koga Shūsaku, ed. (April 10, 1990). Nihon Kenchiku-shi (in Japanese) (September 30, 2008 ed.). Shōwa-dō. ISBN 4-8122-9805-9 . * Scheid, Bernhard. "Japanische Pagoden" (in German). University of Vienna. Retrieved 19 August 2010. * Shinkō no Katachi - Hōkyōintō, Yatsushiro Municipal Museum, accessed on September 18, 2008 (in Japanese)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to PAGODAS IN JAPAN .
* v * t * e
Elements of Japanese architecture
Model of Himeji Castle
TYPES OF BUILDING
* Gates * Approaches
* Ken * Koku * Ri * Shaku * Sun
Groups of Traditional Buildings
* Castles * Residences * Shrines * Temples * Other structures
* v * t * e
JAPANESE BUDDHIST ARCHITECTURE
* hidden roof * hisashi * irimoya * kaerumata: see nakazonae * kairō * karahafu * karesansui * kentozuka: see nakazonae * komainu * katōmado * mokoshi * moya * nakazonae * Niō or Kongōrikishi * sandō * shichidō garan * shōrō * sōrin * tokyō * tōrō * onigawara
* karamon * nijūmon * niōmon * rōmon * sanmon * sōmon * torii
* Chinjusha * chōzuya/temizuya * -dō * main hall (kon-dō, hon-dō, butsuden) * kuri * kyōzō or kyō-dō * shoin
* gorintō * hōkyōintō * hōtō * kasatōba * sotōba * muhōtō * tahōtō
* A-un * ken
SCHOOLS AND OBJECTS OF WORSHIP
OBJECTS OF WORSHIP
* Amida Nyōrai
* kei (ritual gong) * mokugyō
* Glossary of Japanese
Japanese Buddhist pantheon
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