The Horyu-ji area contains about 48 Buddhist monuments that are preserved, dating back to the 7th and 8th centuries.
Prince Shotoku Taishi, who was officially the first Buddhist patron, built the main temple in 607 A.D. These monuments are some of the most ancient wooden buildings that have survived to this day.
Inside of the two main temples, a few hundred treasures are held. The area is a complex of buildings with ancient architecture, displaying the unique culture that this area had near the Silk Road. Visitors will see some remarkable, life-like statues and great architecture that was created and built long ago.
The Kondo is the main building and houses many special sculptures, such as the Shaka sanzon-zo statue. One of the depictions is of the Buddha of Healing, Yakushi Nyorai, to whom the temple is dedicated, dating back to the year 607. There is also an Amida Buddha statue from the 12th century that was created in memory of Shotoku Taishi’s mother. The Kondo was burned down in a fire, but the walls were restored in 1949 with frescoes.
The Goju-no-tou is the famous pagoda that is five stories high. This is considered to be the oldest wooden building that exists today, at 32.6 meters high. With a tile roof, the top has a shallow slope giving it a beautiful appearance. There is a tomb inside of this structure that holds a Buddha relic. On one of the walls in the interior, a life-like Buddha is depicted as he lays dying.
The Yumedono is known as the dream pavilion, located in the Eastern Precinct. It was built back in the year 739 as a place to have a memorial service for Taishi. It holds a life-sized statue that is supposed to resemble Taishi. For many years, this statue was hidden underneath a cloth, preventing the public from seeing it.
This was due to religious reasons, but because of this preservation, the statue is in great shape today. Now, visitors can view the statue only at certain times of the year.
2 sites in this World Heritage
- Horyu-ji Area
- Hokki-ji Area
- UNESCO Official Site
- Japan National Tourism Organization | Japan In-depth | Scenic Beauty | World Heritage Sites in Japan
- Horyu-ji's Famous Buddhist Monuments | All About Japan
- Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area - UNESCO World Heritage Site
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- Horyu-ji Area - Unesco World Heritage Site | For World Heritage Travellers