A Kyoto expansion 1,100 years in the making.

In a lot of ways, Kyoto’s Daigoji is a quintessential Japanese temple. Located in the city’s Fushimi ward, it was founded in 874 and features such classical elements as a Benten altar in the middle of a pond and a five-story pagoda, which is one of the oldest structures in the city and designated as a national treasure by the Japanese government.

Daigoji’s status as a UNESCO World Heritage site doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the past, though, and for its newest initiative the 1,100-plus-year-old institution is heading into outer space.

Daigoji will be establishing a new temple with the help of Terra Space, a Kyoto-based satellite research and development company. The space temple will share space with an IoT communications satellite, with about half of its interior space dedicated to carrying Buddhist imagery, a mandala, and other religious items in low orbit, circling the earth once every 90 minutes at an altitude of around 450 kilometers (278 miles).

▼ A diagram of the planned space temple

The new temple will be called Jotenin Gounji, with joten meaning “pure heaven” and the kanji characters for goun relating to Buddhist concepts about the flow of time and existence of humanity (in and ji both indicate a temple).

On February 8, Daigoji will be holding its first “space prayer ceremony,” praying for peace and safety as mankind continues to head out beyond the bounds of the earth. Future iterations will feature images broadcast from the Jotenin Gounji satellite, which is projected to be launched into orbit sometime in 2023.

Source: Gounji via IT Media
Top image: Wikipedia/Shigeru-a24
Insert images: Gounji (1, 2)
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