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Here's what it takes to ring a 70-ton bell at Buddhist Chion-in temple in Japan

The gigantic bell has a height of 10.8 feet and a diameter of 8.85 feet. It makes the 'Great Bell Tower' of the Chion-in Temple in Kyoto an attractive landmark.

Here's what it takes to ring a 70-ton bell at Buddhist Chion-in temple in Japan
Cover Image Source: Giant temple bell (Wikimedia | Photo by Benjamin Hollis)

It is auspicious to ring a bell in temples in many Eastern cultures. In some places, however, these bells can be huge and may take more than the strength of one hand to ring them. That's why ringing these instruments requires a collaborative effort because they must be struck from the outside by a large swinging beam to create the sound. A video posted by Instagram user @hirori030303 shows what it takes to ring the Daishōrō (Great Bell Tower) at the Chion-in Buddhist Temple in Kyoto. The iconic bell is a major tourist attraction in Japan and it takes a huge group of people to ring the country's largest bell.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by hiro o (@hirori030303)


 

 

When the men gain enough momentum, they swing forward, causing one to slide down the floor. With one swift blow, they ring the massive green-gray bell. A group of 25 men is required to ring the bell. As captivating as the sound of the bell is, it is far from the only feature that makes the Chion-in Temple's Great Bell Tower such an intriguing landmark. The bell weighs 70 tons (the Liberty Bell weighs one ton), stands 10.8 feet tall, and has an 8.85-foot diameter. This massive instrument is also steeped in history, having been cast in 1636 and supported by a tower built in 1678, reports My Modern Met


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by 浄土宗総本山 知恩院 (@chion_in)


 

 

The bell is rung only on specific occasions throughout the year including memorial services for Hōnen (the Gyoki Daie, held in April) and 108 times on New Year's Eve. It supposedly removes the pain associated with worldly desires by ringing it at the start of the new year.


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by hiro o (@hirori030303)


 

 

The Chion-in Temple website reads, "Chion-in is connected to Hōnen (1133-1212), the founder of the Jōdo Shū (Pure Land Sect) of Buddhism. It was here at Chion-in that Hōnen taught chanting the name of Amida (Sanskrit: Amitabha) to attain salvation, and it was here that he spent his final years. Today, with over 7,000 temples, the teachings of Hōnen have spread throughout Japan. Since 1523, Chion-in has been the head temple of the Jōdo Shū. Also, Chion-in is highly appealing from a cultural standpoint, since it received donations from the Tokugawa shogun (supreme military commander) during the early Edo (1600-1867) period and was built by the master artisans of the day."


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by 浄土宗総本山 知恩院 (@chion_in)


 

 

Kyoto, a historic Japanese city, encourages visitors to come out after dark by lighting up one of its most popular attractions, the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. The entire forest comes to life with special light installations and illuminations from December 10 to December 19. The bamboo grove, located on the outskirts of the city, is astonishingly beautiful. And thanks to the Kyoto Arashiyama Hanatouro illumination, it looked even better. Not only is the wood Togetsukyo Bridge beautifully illuminated, creating delightful reflections in the Katsura River, but there are also special lanterns illuminating the forest paths, reported My Modern Met. 


 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by 京都・花灯路 (@kyoto_hanatouro)


 

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