Photo/IllutrationThe "Karamon" gate, a national treasure of Nishi-Hongwanji temple in Shimogyo Ward, Kyoto (Jiro Omura)

  • Photo/Illustraion

KYOTO--The elaborate “Karamon” gate of Nishi-Hongwanji temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site, will open for the first time in 34 years for one day only on May 21.

The rare occasion will take place on the birthday of Shinran (1173-1263), founder of the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddism.

Chances of seeing the national treasure gate open again anytime soon are slim, as restoration work will be carried out on it from June 2018 through March 2022.

The gate has been closed since a ceremony in 1983 to prevent damage, according to a temple official.

Karamon is also well-known as “Higurashimon” (all-day gate) because it is said to be so beautiful that people can lose track of time and spend an entire day admiring its lavish decorative carvings.

The four-pillared gate is 8.67 meters high, 5.37 meters wide and 4.4 meters deep, protected by a cypress-thatched Chinese-style gable. It is recognized as one of the outstanding works of the Azuchi-Momoyama Period (1568-1600).

The opened gate will be shown to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and visitors can pass through it until 1 p.m.