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Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area

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  • Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area

Starting point of Japanese Buddhism established by Prince Shotoku.

Starting point of Japanese Buddhism established by Prince Shotoku.Starting point of Japanese Buddhism established by Prince Shotoku.Courtesy of Nara Prefectural Office

Horyu-ji Temple in Nara was commissioned by Prince Shotoku and Empress Suiko in 607.
Active as the regent of Empress Suiko, Prince Shotoku, who established the Seventeen-article constitution and Twelve Level Cap and Rank System, played an important role in spreading Buddhist teachings by deploying ambassadors to China.
As a result, the style of this temple incorporates Buddhist architecture and has a high reputation as the world’s oldest existing wooden structure.
The temple contributed to the spread of Buddhism from the mid-6th century and its acclaim at having had significant influence on Japanese religious architecture, led to the temple being designated as the first World Heritage site in Japan in 1993.

Buddhist architecture reflecting each period from the 7th to 18th century.

Buddhist architecture reflecting each period from the 7th to 18th centuryBuddhist architecture reflecting each period from the 7th to 18th centuryCourtesy of Nara Prefectural Office

The official title registered on the World Heritage list is Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area.
Horyu-ji Temple was constructed at the start of the 7th century and the current complex consists of the Sai-in Garan and the To-in Garan, as well as subsidiary temples.
The Sai-in Garan was rebuilt between the late 7th century to the start of the 8th century, with a 5-storied pagoda, Kondo Hall, and Daikodo Hall, while the To-in Garan was constructed in the early 8th century and contains Yumedono Hall as well as several other large and small buildings.
Based on the Prince’s beliefs, Buddhist architecture remains from each period between the 7th and 18th centuries, showing the changes in style, and this was one reason Horyu-ji Temple was registered on the World Heritage list.
The main buildings of the Sai-in Garan are examples of early Buddhist architecture that no longer exists in China or Korea, and the other main buildings in both Garans are mostly from the 13th century.
Further, the subsidiary temples in the surrounding area of the Garans began being built in the 12th century and gradually increased in number after that.
Most of those structures are designated as either National Treasures or important cultural assets, and Horyu-ji Temple is also known as the treasure house of Buddhist culture.

Data

Site : Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area
Location : Nara Prefecture
Date of Inscription : 1993
Criteria : (i) (ii) (iv) (vi)
Property : 15 ha
Buffer zone : 571 ha

The official website of The World Heritage Centre
"Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area"
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/660

Location map

No. Heritage Assets
1 Horyu-ji Temple
2 Hokki-ji Temple
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