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Five Storied Pagoda

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Buddhism in Japan

Buddhism is one of the two official religions of Japan (Shintoism being the other) and has been practiced in Japan since 552 AD.

Buddhist temples can be found all over Japan, and there is a high concentration of these religious sites in the cities of Kyoto and Nara.

In this Japanese learner's blog by Oosawa sensei, she introduces a central feature of many temples; the 5 storied pagoda. Please read this blog and listen to the video to learn more Japanese vocabulary and language.

Five Storied Pagoda



京都や奈良をはじめ、日本のお寺にはたくさんの塔があります。 日本にある塔は、昔のインドで釈迦の骨を納めていたものが起源だと言われています。もともと塔はお寺の中心にある建物でしたが、今はそれぞれのお寺のシンボルになっています。







To listen to this blog, please watch our Youtube video.


京都(きょうと)や奈良(なら)をはじめ、日本(にほん)のお寺(てら)にはたくさんの塔(とう)があります。 日本(にほん)にある塔(とう)は、昔(むかし)のインドで釈迦(しゃか)の骨(ほね)を (おさ)めていたものが起源(きげん)だと言(い)われています。もともと塔(とう)はお寺(てら)の中心(ちゅうしん)にある建物(たてもの)でしたが、今(いま)はそれぞれのお寺(てら)のシンボルになっています。




Five Storied Pagoda

Starting with Kyoto and Nara, there are many pagodas in temples in Japan. The origins of the Japanese pagodas apparently come from India which were places in which Buddha's bones were enshrined. Originally, pagodas were in the central buildings of temples but now they have become symbols of those various temples.

The oldest pagoda in Japan is in Horyu-ji Temple in Nara. Horyu-ji Temple's pagoda was built about 1300 years ago. It is a tall pagoda with a height of 34 meters, and it has never been destroyed by an earthquake. There are many theories for the reasons why it has not been destroyed, but it is said that the central column can absorb the tremors caused by earthquakes. This technique is also modified for use in the construction of the Tokyo Skytree.

When seen from the outside, it looks as though it is a 5 floor building. It seems that if you climb up to the top, the view would be great. But it is full of wooden construction above the second floor in order to support the pagoda so there is no space for a person to enter it.

There are other pagodas in which average people can enter and view the first floor like Horyu-ji Temple, so next time you visit a temple, please take time to look at the pagodas.

五重(ごじゅう)の塔(とう)  Five Storied Pagoda

釈迦(しゃか)の骨(ほね)  Buddha's bones

起源(きげん) roots; origin

中心(ちゅうしん)にある stand at the center of

シンボル symbol

法隆寺(ほうりゅうじ)  Horyu-ji Temple

説(せつ) theory

柱(はしら) column; pole

揺(ゆ)れを吸収(きゅうしゅう) shake absorbing

応用(おうよう)されている be modified for

木(き)が組(く)んである a wooden framework

空間(くうかん)  space

じっくり見(み)て look deep into


While all of you may have a different goal, there is one common purpose that you all share, which is to use the Japanese language in order to achieve something. I would be really glad if by learning Japanese here at JOI with me, and with your peers we can help to influence your life – even a little.
When I was a child, I used to perform a musical instrument, and played various kinds of music including pop and jazz. I also love to look at old buildings like temples and shrines and so I often travel. In my class, I would like to introduce some of Japanese culture and the traditions, through learning Japanese, and also introduce some of the characteristics of Japanese people. Lets face our goals together and go for it !

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Guest Tuesday, 26 October 2021