This impressive World Heritage temple complex is a must-see, because it is such a beautiful place to visit, not just because it boasts 48 World Heritage monuments. Approaching the outer gate along a wide, pine-lined avenue, you are faced by high walls which conceal the temples within, creating a mini-city of manicured gardens and wide streets. The fierce deva guardians at the entrance to the complex are the oldest in Japan, yet their power hasn’t diminished in 1,500 years.
The courtyard holds the main hall and a five story pagoda, one of the world’s oldest wooden buildings, enclosed by wooden cloisters. The bronze Shaka Triad showing Buddha and two bodhisattvas crafted in the Asuka period, is the key object in the main hall. Next to it is a five-storey pagoda, with scenes from Buddha’s life created in clay in the Nara period. It is said that a fragment of Buddha’s bones is buried here.
Behind is the Daikodo or large lecture hall, with a large Yakushi Nyorai healing Buddha with assistants, guarded by beautifully detailed Shitenno figures. You can walk around the back to see where the Buddha’s halo is inscribed with the history of the temple.
Construction of Horyuji Temple was completed around AD 607, commissioned by Prince Shotoku, an almost mythical figure and a deeply committed Buddhist who was said to have performed miracles. You can see several figures of him in the Treasure House, which houses Buddhist treasures from every era in an attractive, modern space. As you walk towards the East gate you have the option of breaking for refreshments at several local restaurants on the edge of the complex. On the east side, the hexagonal Yumedono (the Dream Hall) holds a tall Kannon figure said to be modelled on the prince.
Just beyond the Yumedono, Chugu-ji Temple is worth visiting for its beautiful Miroku Bosatsu, whose enigmatic smile is often compared with the Mona Lisa. Just a few minutes away, you can experience a traditional tea ceremony at Taiseian, then walk to Hokkiji Temple, a famous sunset spot.
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Last update: 2016-11-10
- Venue Details & Access Info
1-1 Horyuji-sannai, Ikaruga, Ikoma
From Kintetsu Nara Station:
Take a bus bound for either JR Oji Station or Horyuji and alight at the Horyuji-mae stop.
From JR Horyuji Station:
20 minutes on foot from the station.
Take a bus bound for Horyujimon-mae and alight at the end of the line.
Related Venues Horyuji Treasure House
Related Events Horyuji Oeshiki
- 法隆寺 Horyuji Temple
- address 生駒郡斑鳩町法隆寺山内1-1 1-1 Horyuji-sannai, Ikaruga, Ikoma
- Opening Time & Admissions
Feb 22 - Nov 3: 8:00 - 17:00
Nov 4 - Feb 21: 8:00 - 16:30
*Group discount available
- Contact Details