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Kofukuji temple

Kofukuji templeMap around Nara ParkKofukuji is a Buddhist temple, and is located about 1km southwest of Todaiji temple.
It is at the west end of Nara Park.
In Japanese, it is pronounced as "Koofukuji".

This temple is one of 9 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" designated as a World Heritage Site.

This temple was founded in 669 by Kamatari Fujiwara (614-669), who was the ancestor of Fujiwara Clan which had been a noble family from ancient times to medieval times. The original temple was built in Kyoto, but Fuhito Fujiwara (659-720), Kamatari's son, moved to the current place in 710, because Nara became the capital of Japan.
And he gave the name "Kofukuji" to this temple.

Fujiwara Clan had power and position, so this temple was enlarged by not only the clan but also the government.
And this temple had been the center of power through ancient and medieval times.
But this temple became a normal temple after the foundation of Edo government in the early 17th century.

This temple was sometimes destroyed by fire by civil wars.
Especially the destruction by the civil war in 1180 was devastating, so all of the buildings were rebuilt after that.
After the fire in 1717, some of the main buildings were not rebuilt.
Additionally the policy of separation between Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple by Meiji government abandoned this temple in 1868.

The temple was allowed to rebuilt in 1881, and the buildings were repaired.
Some buildings, gates and fences had been gone, so current temple is in Nara Park without gate and fence.

In the precincts, there are several buildings.

Two main buildings are Chukondo and Tokondo.
Chukondo is rebuilding now, and is scheduled to complete within 2010.
Tokondo was rebuilt in 1415, and has several Buddha statues. The building and the statues are designated as national treasures.

Other buildings are also important.

Five-story pagoda was built in 730 and was rebuilt in 1426. The height is 50.8 meters, and is the Japan's second highest wooden tower after Toji's tower in Kyoto. Hokuendo is an octagonal temple. It was built in 730 and was rebuilt in 1208.
These are designated as national treasures.
These and the other buildings have many Buddha statues, and many of them are designated as national treasures and important cultural properties.

But we can see the popular national treasures in Kokuhoukan (Museum of National Treasures).
In this museum, many sculptures, lanturns and bells are displayed.
Most popular sculpture is Ashura-zou with three faces and six arms, and its tension-filled but handsome expression attracts us.

The admission fee to Tokondo is 300 yen, and the admission fee to Kokuhoukan is 500 yen.

Kofukuji official website

How to get to here

By route bus

About 5 minutes from JR Nara station. Get off at Kencho-mae stop.
If you walk from Kintetsu Nara station, it takes about 10 minutes.

Tokondo and five-story pagoda in Kofukuji
Five-story pagoda in the evening Three-story pagoda
Hokuendo Nan'endo
Five-story pagoda across Sarusawa Pond
Photo by Koto-Roman
Ashura-zou in Kofukuji

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