Parts of this magnificent building, which lies in the middle of a pond in Uji near Kyoto, date back to 1053 when Regent Fujiwara Yorimichi built the phoenix hall at the heart of today’s temple. In those days the Fujiwara clan was at the height of their powers, and soon the temple complex numbered 26 buildings, including seven pagodas and the phoenix hall. The Byodo-in was ruined in times of strife and largely destroyed in a big blaze in 1483. For hundreds of years, the temple which had been so breathtakingly beautiful sank into oblivion, serving only as a refuge for vagabonds. After being rediscovered and tho­roughly restored in the 1950s, part of the complex reemerged in its old glory and is a popular destination for excursions today.

Dimensions: L: 2.07 m, W: 1.50 m, H: 0.55 m
Weight without pond: 32 kg
Materials: oak, beech, special concrete, plastic
Time taken: 2 years
Model maker: Hermenegild Schneeweiss (1994)