• Compiled From Kyodo, Staff Report

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OTSU, Shiga Pref. — A garden and hall of a 1,000-year-old Buddhist temple in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, fetched ¥1.07 billion in a court auction, it was learned Monday.

Both the garden and hall are government-designated important cultural assets.

Enmanin Temple, established in the late Heian Period (794-1192), has huge debts, in part because of its failing cemetery business.

According to the Otsu District Court, the temple’s 14,000-sq.-meter, nine-structure compound, including the garden and Shinden hall, were put on the block April 23, and a religious corporation based in Koga, Shiga Prefecture, won the bid May 26.

The court will examine details of the bid and approve it if no interested parties raise objections to the deal by June 10.

The hall, a typical structure of the Shoin-zukuri style, is listed as an Important Cultural Property by the government and the garden is a selected beautiful scenery spot.

The hall is believed to have been moved from the Imperial Palace in Kyoto in 1647.

Large-scale repairs of the properties would require government approval and demolition is prohibited, but the transfer of property rights is not banned, an official at the Cultural Affairs Agency said.

“It’s very unusual that a temple put an important cultural property up for auction. We’d like (the temple) to make efforts to preserve it properly,” an Otsu official said.

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