"Nara's Horyu-ji Temple" Japan Things to Do Tip by Paul2001
Japan Things to Do: 736 reviews and 1,308 photos
Horyu-ji Temple, near Nara, is in terms of architectual history, one of the most important Buddhist temples in all of Japan or even Asia for that matter. The temple dates from the early 7th century, just fifty years after Buddhism was introduced to Japan.
The temple grounds consist of one large compound that surrounds a smaller but important second enclosure. It is here where most of the important buildings of the temple complex are located. As with most Japanese Buddhist temples the most eyedrawing object is the pagoda. The five story pagoda here is the oldest in Japan. Unlike most Japanese pagodas, you can enter this one and scan over the statues inside. However as interesting as this might be the reason you and the masses of tourist have come to Horyu-ji is for the Kon-do or Great Hall. This the oldest wooden building in the world and dates from the late 7th century. It actually replaced an earlier building which, as seems to frequently happen to Japanese temples, burned down.
The Kon-do is magnificent and is one of the highlights of my trip to Japan. Inside there are many fascinating sculpture featuring the Buddha himself actually a 12th century altar and various dieties or bodhisattvas. There are also stunning gold leaf reliefs and murals.
Nearby the Kon-do is the Daihozo or main treasurary gallery. This is full of sculptures and a couple of Buddha altars. There are also paintings features incidences in the Buddhas life.
The temple costs 1000 yen to enter which is a hefty increase from when I visited it back in 1990. It is open from 8am to 5pm in the summer months and till 4pm in the winter months.
Directions: Horyu-ji Temple is a 50 minute bus trip from Nara. Buses run every half hour and cost 760 yen. Get off at Horyu-ji-mae stop.
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