Recently a survey of the buildings at Ninna-ji has been completed and 7 structures within Goten and 1 outside of Goten are slated to be added to the Japanese Government’s list of Registered Tangible Cultural Properties in the coming months. Buildings to be registered include: the entrance hall, Shinden, Shiro-shoin, Kuro-shoin, Reimeiden, Chokushi Gate, Kōzoku (Imperial Family) Gate, and Reihō-kan.
This pending registration does not involve any changes for visitors to the temple, however. Structures registered as Tangible Cultural Properties are eligible to receive some government assistance for maintenance and repairs. When the pending registration is complete it will be that much easier for the temple to keep its properties in peak condition for visitors for years to come.
The “sacred jewel” decoration on the roof of Reimeiden establishes this building as a worship hall. The present building was completed in 1890. There is a complete altar erected inside with the Medicine Buddha (Yakushi Nyorai) as the principle image.
The original statue of the Medicine Buddha that was enshrined within Reimeiden was stored out of public view until it was analyzed in the 1980s to verify its age. In 1986 the statue was discovered to be very old recreation of an even older statue. It is believed that the original was destroyed in 1103, and the statue that remains at the temple to this day was completed over the span of one month during the same year, making the current statue over 900 years old. In 1990 the statue was declared a National Treasure of Japan, it holds the record as the smallest National Treasure at only 21.9cm tall including the halo and pedestal.