Gion-zukuri Style (祇園造)

The Gion-zukuri style is a style of Japanese shrine architecture. It is also called Yasaka-zukuri style.

Summary

The Gion-zukuri style can be seen only at Yasaka-jinja Shrine in Gion, Kyoto, and it is considered to be the style of shrine architecture that most resembles that of Buddhist temple architecture due to the single roof that covers the separate honden (main sanctury) and rei-do hall (current haiden (worship hall)).

Structure

The structure of Gion-zukuri consists of the Irimoya-zukuri style (hip-and-gable roof) and hirairi (the entrance to a building constructed parallel to the ridge of the roof, usually on the long side of building). A single hikawabuki roof (cypress bark roof) covers both the honden building which measures five-ken (9.09m) in the front face and two-ken (3.636m) in the lateral face and is surrounded by eaves, as well as the rei-do hall situated in front of it.

Moreover, the addition of a kohai (roof built over the steps leading up to a temple building) at the front face and a mago bisashi (additional eaves off the main eaves) at the other three sides makes the structure larger and even more complicated.

History

According to Daijokanpu (official documents issued by Daijokan, Grand Council of State) from the year 935, the honden and rei-do hall of Yasaka-jinja Shrine were separate buildings.

In an ancient drawing made in 1331, the shrine is depicted as a Gion-zukuri style building, and it is estimated from the fact that the original copy of this drawing was created in 986 that the Gion-zukuri style was established between 935 and 986.

The present honden (main sanctuary) was reconstructed in 1654.