Horyuji Temple 2
“Horyuji Temple was supposedly founded jointly by Prince Shotoku and Emperor Suiko in 607AD and still contains many structures and works of art with 2300 items including statues of the Buddha designated as national treasures or important cultural properties. There are 2 parts; (the) Saiin Garan, or western precinct with its pagoda and Kondo (Main Hall), and (the) Toin Garan, eastern precinct with its Yumedono (Dream Hall).
When entering via Nandai-mon (South Gate), turn to the west. The Kondo is on the right side and Goju-no-to (five-storied pagoda) on the left; best viewed with your back to Chu-mon (Main Gate). The Kairo (corridor) begins either side of the Chu-mon and surrounds the Kondo and Goju-no-to. The Daikodo (Great Lecture Hall), Shoro (Bell Tower) and Kyozo (Sutra Repository) are also to be found in this area.
The Kondo here is the oldest wooden building in the world and the paintings still visible on the walls survive thanks to restoration following a fire in 1949. Statues including Shakasanzon-zo are contained within.
Pagodas are considered to be the most important buildings in Buddhist temples. The Goju-no-to in Horyuji is no exception and is Japan’s oldest five-storied structure standing approximately 31.5m in height. As the higher the stories go, the smaller their eaves prove to be and this effect only adds to the stability and beauty of the building.
The East and West Treasure Houses (Kudara-Kannon-do included) are the locations to find displays of Japanese treasures such as Kudara-Kannon-zo. Buddhist statues, paintings or altar related articles, masks and music used in court dance as well as scriptures and mural paintings are all displayed in turn. It is said that a look at the treasures and buildings of Horyuji will provide the wisdom of the nation’s earliest days of Buddhism worship.
The Eastern precinct, originally “‘Ikarugano-miya,’ was once the residential area of Prince Shotoku and is also the location of the octagonal shaped Yumedono.”