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Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

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  • Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

Japan’s old capital that fostered cultural and international exchanges.

Japan’s old capital that fostered cultural and international exchanges.Japan’s old capital that fostered cultural and international exchanges.Courtesy of Kasuga Taisha Shrine

Nara was the ancient capital of Japan from 710 to 794, flourishing as a center for politics, economics, and culture.
Many temples and shrines existed there and 8 of those temples are now registered as part of the World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”.
It was here that trade with the Tang Dynasty in China and Korea was at its peak, and the capital of Heijyokyo was the final point of the Silk Road, making this a very international capital at the time.
There are many treasures stored in the Shosoin Treasure House at Todai-ji Temple that show what life was like at the time.
Japanese culture was formed along with these international exchanges.

Still in evidence after surviving conflicts

Still in evidence after surviving conflictsStill in evidence after surviving conflicts Courtesy of Nara City Sightseeing Information Center

The 8 sites registered as a World Heritage site are Toshodai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Kasugayama Primeval Forest, Kofuku-ji Temple, Gango-ji Temple, Yakushi-ji Temple, Toshodai-ji Temple, and the Heijo Palace Remains.
Todai-ji Temple, built by the Emperor Shomu to pray to Buddha for protection of the country, includes the sights of the famous Great Buddha of Nara and the largest wooden structure in the world, the Daibutsu-den Hall.
Kofuku-ji Temple, Gango-ji Temple, and Yakushi-ji Temple were all built or transferred here when the capital shifted to Heijo-kyo.
In addition, there is a whole array of historical and traditional remains, such as Kasuga Taisha Shrine, that enshrines the protecting dieties of the Fujiwara family and flourished from the Nara to the Heian Periods; the groves for that shrine, Kasugayama Primeval Forest; Toshodai-ji Temple, known as a Nara Period treasure house; and the remains of Heijo Palace that was located in the central northern part of Heijo-kyo.
In 794, the capital was transferred to Heian-kyo in Kyoto and due to this, an important characteristic of Nara is that from then on it avoided being involved in conflicts, meaning it could remain the same up to now.

Data

Site : Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara
Location : Nara Prefecture
Date of Inscription : 1998
Criteria : (ii) (iii) (iv) (vi)
Property : 617 ha
Buffer zone : 1,963 ha

The official website of The World Heritage Centre
"Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara"
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/870

Naracity Tourist Association

Nara City Sightseeing Information Center
https://www.narashikanko.or.jp/en/index.html

Gangoji Temple

Gangoji Temple official website
http://www.gangoji.or.jp/

Kofuku-ji Temple

Kofuku-ji Temple official website
http://www.kohfukuji.com/english.html

Todai-ji Temple

Todai-ji Temple Official Website
http://www.todaiji.or.jp/english/index.html

Shosoin

Shosoin (Page of the Imperial Household Agency)
http://shosoin.kunaicho.go.jp/en-US

Kasugataisha shrine

Kasugataisha shrine Official Website
http://www.kasugataisha.or.jp/about/index_en.html

Kasuga-yama Hill Primeval Forest

Kasuga-yama Hill Primeval Forest (Japanese)
http://www.pref.nara.jp/25846.htm

Yakushi-ji Temple

Yakushi-ji Temple Official Website (Japanese)
http://www.nara-yakushiji.com/index.html

Toshodai-ji Temple

Toshodai-ji Temple Official Website
http://www.toshodaiji.jp/english/

Heijo Palace Site

Heijo Palace Site Official Website (Japanese)
http://heijo-kyo.com/event.html

Location map

No. Heritage Assets
1 Gango-ji
2 Kofuku-ji
3 Todai-ji
4 Kasuga Taisha
5 Kasugayama Primeval Forest
6 Yakushi-ji
7 Toshodai-ji
8 Nara Palace Site
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