Kyoto, Japan


Sai-ji (西寺, Sai-ji) or the West Temple was one of the two large Buddhist temples established in Kyoto, Japan.

Sai-ji was founded in the early Heian period. The temple dates from 796, two years after the capital moved to Heian-kyō. Sai-ji was established together with the other temple, Tō-ji (the East Temple). Each occupied a square site of approximately 300 m by 300 m situated symmetrically on both sides of the Suzaku Avenue (Suzaku-ōji, present-day Senbon-dōri), just north of the great Rashōmon gate along the southern edge of the city. While Tō-ji has survived (albeit rebuilt) into modern times, Sai-ji was burnt in 990 and 1233, then abandoned and never rebuilt.

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