Beautiful temple buildings related to Prince Shotoku are dotted here and there amidst the idyllic scenery. It takes about 50 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station by bus. Or after an 11-minute ride from JR Nara Station to Horyuji Station, it takes about 15 minutes on foot.
The highlight of this area is Horyu-ji Temple. It was built at the beginning of the 7th century by Prince Shotoku, famous for drawing up Japan’s first national constitution, and Emperor Suiko. The present buildings, which were rebuilt in the 8th century, are designated as a World Heritage site as the oldest wooden structures in the world. Horyu-ji was Japan’s first designation as a World Heritage site.
The principle image of the temple is enshrined in the Kondo main hall and Japan’s oldest Shitenno-zo statues and many other Buddha statues are also housed in the Kondo. A five-story pagoda, Goju-no-To, next to the Kondo is the oldest five-story pagoda existing in Japan. The upper roofs are smaller than the lower roofs, which gives an elegant appearance to the pagoda and which is highly valued in terms of aesthtics and architecture. Most temple treasures are housed in the Daihozo-in/Kudara Kannon-do halls. The elegant Kudara Kannon-zo statue is well known for its balanced proportion and is the temple’s most famous statue.
If you have time, Chugu-ji Temple, Horin-ji Temple, and Hokki-ji Temple in this area are also recommended for a visit.