Inside any Japanese Buddhist temple there’s a main building, enshrining the temple’s principal object of veneration. The English term used to designate it is “main hall", but the Japanese name for this building varies, depending on the sect to which the temple belongs or on the period of construction.
The most widely used is hon-do, which can be translated indeed as “main hall", but this name appeared only during the Heian Period. Older temples, like the Shitennoji from Osaka (which was established in 593 during the Asuka Period), are designating their main building as kon-do 「金堂」, “golden hall". Here is the Shitennoji kon-do, a true jewel of Buddhist architecture…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: