What comes to your mind when you think of a monumental bell? Does it have the shape of a hollow bowl, similar to the Liberty Bell? If yes, then you are not alone. However, in Eastern cultures there are bells that are much larger. Placed in temples and palaces, sounding these instruments can be a team effort, as they must be struck externally by a large swinging beam for their sounds to come to life.
A revealing video by Instagram user hirori030303 shows what it takes to ring the Daishirō, the Great Bell Tower, at Chion-in Buddhist Temple in Kyoto, also known as Japan's largest bell. The footage shows a group of men moving a large wooden railing back and forth. Once they have enough momentum, the men swing forward, causing one of them to even slide across the floor. Together they ring a huge gray-green bell with one quick thump. A group of 25 people is required to ring the bell.
As compelling as the sound of the bell is, it is far from the only element that makes the Great Bell Tower of Hion-in Temple such a fascinating attraction. The bell weighs 70 tons (the Liberty Bell weighs one ton), is 10.8 feet high and 8.85 feet in diameter. This gigantic instrument is also steeped in history; It was cast in 1636 and the tower that supports it was built in 1678.
The bell is rarely heard as it only rings on certain occasions throughout the year. These include memorial services for Hōnen (Gyoki Daye in April) and 108 memorial services on New Year's Eve. By invoking him at the beginning of the new year, he removes the pain associated with worldly desires.