Located in Higashiyama-ku, Chion-in is a large temple complex dedicated to the Pure Land Buddhist sect. First established in 1234, it memorialized Honen, the founder of Pure Land Buddhism. Chion-in houses several features unique to Japan, or otherwise interesting in nature. Its Sanmon gate, constructed in 1619, is the largest still standing in the country. It is the site of the largest temple bell weighing 74 tons.
Chion-in also boasts the famous nightingale floors. These chirping floorboards were meant to warn the Tokugawa shogunate when unwanted visitors were advancing in the night by rubbing two pieces of metal together when pressure was applied from above. Chion-in is also one of the locations where The Last Samurai was filmed. In the movie, the large stone steps and the grand, palatial architecture of the temple was meant to represent Edo castle.
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