Horyuji is a Buddhist temple, and is located in
Ikaruga town about 13 km southwest of Nara city.
In Japanese, it is pronounced long as "Hooryuuji".
This temple is the main one of "Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area" designated as a World Heritage Site.
This temple is one of 9 constructions designated a World Heritage Site as Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.
Horyuji is regarded as the foundation in 607, and the west part of the temple grounds has the most oldest wooden buildings in the world.
It is said that Horyuji was built by Prince Shotoku (574-622).
He assisted Empress Suiko (554-628) and took the reins of government.
He built Ikaruga Palace for government in 601 in this area, and constructed Horyuji to the west of the palace after that.
But there are discrepancies among the descriptions about Horyuji and
Prince Shotoku in some ancient documents.
So since the 20th century, the argument about them has been raging.
Some say that current temple is the original temple built by Prince Shotoku, but the others say that it was rebuilt after the fire in 670.
Additionally some say that Prince Shotoku was nonexistent person.
In this way, we have a lot of questions about the history of Japan around the 7th century.
But it is true that Horyuji was founded in the early 7th century.
The oldest west part (Sai-in Garan) had been completed by the 710s. And the east part (To-in Garan) was built in 738.
In the middle ages, fires sometimes broke out, but many original
buildings are fortunately existing now.
In 1878, more than 300 treasures of this temple had been presented to the imperial household, but many of them are exhibited in Tokyo National Museum now.
The west part of the temple is called "Sai-in Garan". All buildings in
the area are designated as national treasures.
After passing Nandaimon gate, we reach there.
Sai-in Garan is surrounded with a corridor, and we can enter the main area with passing Chumon gate.
Other buildings in this area are Daikodo hall, Kyozo (Warehouse of scriptures) and Shoro (Bell tower).
We can see the two main buildings.
Kondo is the main temple of Horyuji, and many Buddha statues are enshrined.
Five-story pagoda is the world's oldest wooden tower, and the height is 31.5 meters.
The east part of the temple is called "To-in Garan". It is located
about 500 meters east of Sai-in Garan.
This area was constructed in 738 by high priest Gyoshin, in remembrance of Prince Shotoku.
It is said that Ikaruga Palace had been here.
The main building in this area is Yumedono.
It is an octagonal temple, and the statues of Prince Shotoku and Gyoshin are enshrined.
The entrance fee to this temple is 1,000 yen.
Photo by Nara-no-Sekaiisan
Photo by Nara-no-Sekaiisan