Daming Temple, Yangzhou – Ticket Price, Opening Hours, Transportation, and Highlights

daming temple yangzhou

Nestled on the serene peak of Shugang, at the northwest corner of the picturesque Slender West Lake in Yangzhou, China, Daming Temple (大明寺) has been a symbol of spiritual serenity for over a millennium. The temple, originally constructed during the Southern Dynasty, between 457 and 464 AD, takes its name from the era of Emperor Xiaowu of Song, known as the “Daming Era.”

The Daming Temple that stands today is a Qing Dynasty construction, built during the reign of Emperor Tongzhi. This place of worship has undergone various name changes throughout its history, such as “Qilingsi” and “Xisi” during the Sui Dynasty, and “Chengping” during the late Tang Dynasty. However, in 1980, the temple was officially restored to its original name, Daming Temple.

Daming Temple holds a unique place in history as it was where the renowned Tang Dynasty monk, Jianzhen, also known as Ganjin, transmitted Buddhist scriptures and administered ordinations before his momentous journey to Japan. The temple is divided into three distinct sections: the central core housing the main temple, the eastern section featuring the Qilin Pagoda, and the western part, an enchanting classical garden known as the West Garden. Visitors can explore the entirety of Daming Temple by following the sequence from the central to the eastern and western sections.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour2 hours
Ticket Price30 RMB (1st December – 28th February and 1st July – 31st August)
45 RMB (1st March – 30th June and 1st September – 30th November)
Qiling Pagoda26 RMB
Opening Hours8.00 – 16.30
Telephone Number0086-0514-87357803

Location and Transportation

Daming Temple is situated on the northwestern outskirts of Yangzhou City, in Jiangsu Province, China. Specifically, it can be found at 8 Pingshan Tang East Road, Hanjiang District. To get there, tourists can take bus 25, 45, 72, Tourist Line 1, Tourist Line 2, or Tourist Line 3, and get off at Damingsi Stop (大明寺站).

Highlights of Daming Temple

Buddhist Architecture

buddhist architecture in daming temple 3

As you enter the grand gates of Daming Temple, you’ll be greeted by the beautifully inscribed three characters “大明寺” (Daming Temple) above the main entrance. These characters were inscribed by Zhao Puchu, the Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the President of the Buddhist Association of China. The calligraphy exudes an ancient, elegant charm.

buddhist architecture in daming temple

The main hall of the temple houses a statue of Maitreya Buddha, with the guardian deity Wei Tuo on the reverse side. Flanking the hall are the Four Heavenly Kings, known as the protectors of Buddhism: Dhritarashtra, Virudhaka, Virupaksha, and Vaishravana. Walking past the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings, you’ll find yourself in a spacious courtyard with ancient, towering trees and the ever-present scent of incense wafting through the air.

buddhist architecture in daming temple 2

The Hall of the Mahavira (Daxiong Baodian), constructed during the Qing Dynasty, is a three-bay wide, triple-eave structure with surrounding corridors and ornate ridge decorations. At the apex of the roof, there is an embedded precious mirror with the inscription “国泰民安” (National Peace and Prosperity) on the front and “风调雨顺” (Smooth Wind and Rain) on the back. Inside the hall, you’ll find a solemn atmosphere with Buddhist scriptures and instruments for religious ceremonies. In the center, enthroned on a lotus platform, is the majestic statue of Gautama Buddha.

Pingshan Hall

pingshan hall in daming temple

Pingshan Hall is an integral part of the Daming Temple complex, constructed during the Northern Song Dynasty by the famous scholar-official Ouyang Xiu when he served as the Prefect of Yangzhou. The hall overlooks a tranquil courtyard, featuring lush trees, providing a peaceful atmosphere for contemplation. The view from Pingshan Hall perfectly aligns with the distant mountains of Jiangnan, which is why it is aptly named “平山堂”. A couplet at the entrance reads: “Overlooking the mountains across the river from this hall, Prefect Ouyang feasted with his guests.” These lines capture the vibrant spirit of Ouyang Xiu’s time as the Prefect of Yangzhou. During Su Dongpo‘s tenure as the Prefect of Yangzhou, he frequented Pingshan Hall and, in honor of Ouyang Xiu, built the “Gulin Hall” and the “Ouyang Shrine” in the vicinity.

The West Garden

west garden in daming temple

To the west of Pingshan Hall lies a classical garden of extraordinary beauty called the West Garden. Also known as the Imperial Garden (御苑) or the Fragrant Garden (芳圃), this garden was initially established in the first year of the Qing Dynasty’s Qianlong reign (1736). Unfortunately, it suffered damage during the Taiping Rebellion but was later reconstructed during the Tongzhi reign. The garden has undergone multiple renovations since 1949. Today, the West Garden boasts ancient, towering trees, intriguing rock formations, serene ponds, elegant pavilions, and a unique feature known as the “Fifth Spring in the World.” According to Zhang Youxin, a Tang-era writer, the spring water found in this garden was once acclaimed as the fifth best in the world. As visitors explore Daming Temple, drinking from the “Fifth Spring” remains a delightful tradition and a refreshing way to experience the temple’s spiritual and natural beauty.

Jianzhen Memorial Hall

jianzhen memorial hall in daming temple

The most distinctive feature of Daming Temple is the Jianzhen Memorial Hall. This hall was constructed in 1973 to commemorate the 1,200th anniversary of Jianzhen’s final Nirvana. Before undertaking his historic journey to Japan, Jianzhen served as the abbot of Daming Temple. Over a span of more than a decade, starting from the first year of the Tang Tianbao era (742), he made six perilous attempts to reach Japan. On his sixth and final attempt, he successfully brought Chinese Buddhism, medicine, language, literature, architecture, sculpture, calligraphy, and printing to Japan, making significant contributions to the cultural exchange between China and Japan.

Qilin Pagoda

qilin pagoda in daming temple

The Qilin Pagoda, originally constructed in 601 AD, is another significant element of Daming Temple. Standing at nine stories tall, it reaches a total height of 70 meters. The pagoda enshrines relics of Sakyamuni and was one of most prominent temples in the region, Regrettably, during the Tang Dynasty in 843 AD, the pagoda was reduced to ashes due to warfare. In 1988, the head monk of Daming Temple, Ruixiang, chose a site in the temple’s eastern garden for the reconstruction of the Qilin Pagoda. By New Year’s Day in 1996, the reconstruction of the Qilin Pagoda was completed, restoring this precious cultural relic to its former glory.

Vlog about Daming Temple

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Panoramic Views from Qilin Tower: Qilin Tower, situated within Daming Temple, offers panoramic views of Yangzhou. From this vantage point on the seventh floor, visitors can enjoy a broad perspective that encompasses landmarks such as Slender West Lake, Daming Temple, and the surrounding scenery.

Value-Added Services on the Seventh Floor: After taking in the views from Qilin Tower, visitors can access additional services. One such option is the opportunity to participate in bell-ringing at the clock tower for an enhanced experience (priced at 25 yuan). The eighth floor houses the true relics of Shakyamuni Buddha, providing a close-up viewing opportunity.

Choosing the South Gate for Taxi Drop-off: If arriving by taxi, it’s recommended to set the destination to the South Gate. Some visitors reported difficulties finding the entrance when dropped off on the road, leading to a longer journey around the area.

Proximity to Slender West Lake: Daming Temple is conveniently located near the North Gate of Slender West Lake. Exiting from the North Gate, visitors can easily walk to Daming Temple.

Taste the Local Cuisine: Near the exit, there are positive reviews about the delicious vegetarian noodles (素面) available. Consider trying this local delicacy for a satisfying culinary experience.

Optional Zen Tea Performance: Daming Temple offers a Zen tea performance, depicting the life of Master Jianzhen. This additional experience requires a separate fee. However, many visitors felt it might not be worth the extra cost.

Attractions near Daming Temple

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