Komyo-ji Temple
550 Omachi Saijo-shi

Tadao Ando, 2000

Komyo-ji is a new temple for the Pure Land sect of Buddhism, replacing replacing an aging 250-year-old structure. Remnants of the old temple are seen throughout the temple site, such as the bell tower and stone foundation walls, through which one winds one's way to the temple.  Located on the island of Shikoku on the Hiuichi Sea, it is on the route to many famous springs.

The temple consists of a square laminated wood structure that is an interpretation of traditional Japanese temple architecture and joinery. It is different from Ando's usual language of monolithic concrete construction through its assemblage of parts that compose a whole. In addition to the temple, the complex also contains adjacent buildings for community meetings, offices and housing for the monks. These surrounding volumes are constructed in concrete.

To enter the temple one traverses a wooden plank over the natural spring water that surrounds the temple. The wooden plank is accessed only after passing through the entry hall of the community building.   

Once inside the temple the visitor then circulates around the temple proper, between the inner facade containing the sacred space of the temple, which is defined by wood and a screen of frosted glass, and the outer facade of the temple. Through clear glass between the wood of the outer facade light dapples the wooden floor of the corridor, shortening and elongating, ever changing with the time of day. 


The interior of the sacred space of the temple is a large square space with 3 layers of interlocking beams that are supported by 16 columns in 4 groups. Lined with tatami mats, the space has been compared to that of a forest.

The water surrounding the temple is serene yet at the same time dynamic.  It quietly reflects the wooden structure into it, extending the height of the temple, and at the same time, is a surface that reflects ever changing light which dances on the monolithic concrete walls of the administrative buildings of the temple compound and through the glass between the wooden slats of the temple building into the sacred space of the temple, creating a poetic synthesis between materials and light.

Kari Silloway 2004
with special thanks to Ko Teramoto

How to visit

From JR Matsuyama station in Matsuyama take JR Ishizuchi express line (56 min.) or JR Yosan-sen local line (138 min) to JR Iyo-saijo station.  From here the temple is a 10 minute walk or a 3 minute taxi ride.

A map (in Japanese only) is at www.koumyouji.com/map/index.htm

The temple is open from 2pm -4pm daily.

For more information and confirmation of opening hours please telephone +81 897 53 4583

The temple web site (in Japanese only) is at www.koumyouji.com

Books and other web sites

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Tadao Ando: Light and Water
Tadao Ando, Kenneth Frampton, Massimo Vignelli

Readable, beautifully presented book featuring this and other works by Tadao Ando


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