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Gangoji temple

Gangoji templeMap around Nara ParkGangoji is a Buddhist temple, and is located about 0.6 km south of Kofukuji temple.

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

Originally this temple was founded in Asuka village in the late 6th century.
The name was Houkouji, and was the Japan's first large Buddhist temple.
After Nara city became the capital, the temple was moved to Nara city in 718. It was the current Gangoji.
The original Houkouji also was kept as a temple in Asuka village, and it has become current Asukadera.

At that time, Gankoji was a large temple, along with Todaiji and Kofukuji.
Todaiji and Kofukuji had gained power. In contrast, Gankoji had followed a course of decline since the 10th century.

In 1451, this temple was destroyed by fire by peasant riot. Then only a few buildings survived apart.
And in the middle of the 19th century, Gangoji had been the current temple here, at last.

Even the only temple had fallen into decay like a haunted temple by the 1950s.
A new chief priest had begun to repair the temple since that time, then the temples were designated as national treasures.
In the 1960s, this temple came back from the dead.

The nickname of this temple is "Gokurakubo". "Gokuraku" means "paradise".
In the precincts, there are Gokurakubo-Hondo, Gokurakubo-Zenshitsu and some other small buildings.
Gokurakubo-Hondo is the main temple, and Gokurakubo-Zenshitsu is the house for Zen training.
Some roof tiles on Gokurakubo-Hondo are created in the 6-8th centuries.
And Gokurakubo-Zenshitsu uses the woods logged in the 6th century.

The admission fee to this temple is 400 yen.

How to get to here

On foot

About 25 minutes from JR Nara station, about 10 minutes from Kintetsu Nara station.

Main gate of Gangoji
Ancient roof tiles
Photo by Nara-no-Sekaiisan
Photo by Nara-no-Sekaiisan

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Spots in Nara City and Prefecture

Nara Park
Nara National Museum
Naramachi area
Heijo Palace Site

Asuka village
Mount Yoshino