Horyu-ji Temple (Five-story Pagoda,location,history)

Horyu-ji Temple, Five-story Pagoda

The information about Horyu-ji Temple is presented here. Horyu-ji Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993 as a “Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area”. Yumedono of Horyu-ji Temple was built by Gyoshin in memory of Prince Shotoku-taishi on the site of Ikaruga-no-miya (palace), where Prince Shotoku-taishi is said to have lived, and houses the statue of Kuze-Kannon, which is said to be the same size as Prince Shotoku-taishi. Incidentally, the statue of Gyoshin is also housed in the surrounding area.

【Horyu-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 1-1 Horyuji Sannai, Ikaruga-cho, Ikoma-gun, Nara Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Horyuji-monzen bus stop (about 2 minutes on foot), Horyuji-mae bus stop (about 8 minutes on foot), JR Horyuji Station (about 20 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 8:00-17:00 (February 22nd-November 3rd), 8:00-16:30 (November 4th-February 21st)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 1,500 yen, Elementary school students 750 yen

【Horyu-ji Temple History】

According to Japan’s oldest official history, “Nihon-shoki, completed in 720”, the site of Horyu-ji Temple (法隆寺) is built was the site of Ikaruga-no-miya (palace), which Prince Shotoku-taishi, a prince of the 31st Emperor Yomei, built in 601 and moved from Asuka to live in 605. When Prince Shotoku-taishi died in 622 at the age of 49, the family of Yamashiro-no-Oenoo, the son of Prince Shotoku-taishi and Tojiko-no-Iratsu, the daughter of Soga no Umako, lived here. The site of Ikaruga-no-miya later became the To-in Garan of Horyu-ji Temple. Horyu-ji Temple is said to have originated in 607 when the 33rd Emperor Suiko and Prince Shotoku-taishi followed the wishes of Emperor Yomei and built Wakakusa Garan next to Ikaruga-no-miya (palace). According to the inscription on the halo of the statue of Yakushi Nyorai, which was built for Emperor Yomei and is housed in the east room of Kondo (Main Hall), Emperor Yomei made a petition to pray for the cure of his illness, but he died without being realized, and Emperor Suiko and Prince Shotoku-taishi succeeded his will and completed the temple (Horyu-ji Temple) and the Buddha statue (Yakushi Nyorai). It is said that the Buddhist sculptor Kuratsukuri-no-Tori created the statue of Shaka-Sanson for Prince Shotoku-taishi in 623. The statue of Shaka-Sanson is housed in the middle room of Kondo (Main Hall) When Emperor Suiko died in 628, there was a succession dispute arose, and in 643, Soga no Iruka, grandson of Soga no Umako, burned down Ikaruga-no-miya (palace) and forced Yamashiro-no-Oenoo to commit suicide at Horyu-ji Temple. In 670, Horyu-ji Temple was destroyed by fire. In Japan’s oldest official history, “Nihon-shoki”,it is written in an article dated April 30th, 670, states, “After midnight, Horyu-ji Temple was destroyed”. There was some controversy about the authenticity of this description in “Nihon-shoki”, but excavations of Wakakusa Garan in 1939 revealed the remains of To (pagoda) and Kondo (Main Hall) lined up from north to south, and in 1983, the remains of the fence line indicating the western boundary of Wakakusa Garan were excavated, so it is said that Wakakusa Garan was first burned down and then Sai-in Garan was rebuilt. It is said that Kondo (Main Hall), Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda), and Chu-mon Gate were rebuilt in the late Asuka period (592-710), and that Sai-in Garan was completed in 710. According to dendrochronological dating, the wood used for Kondo (Main Hall), Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda), and Chu-mon Gate was cut between the end of the 650s and the end of the 690s. According to “Shizai-cho”, Ninno-e was held in 693, suggesting that Kondo (Main Hall) was already rebuilt in 693. In addition, according to “Shizai-cho”, the statues housed on the first floor of Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) were completed in 711, suggesting that Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda) was already rebuilt in 711. It is said that in 739, Gyoshin built Yumedono in To-in Garan, the ruins of Ikaruga-no-miya (palace), in memory of Prince Shotoku-taishi. In 925, Dai-Kodo (lecture hall) and Shoro (bell tower) were destroyed by lightning. After that, Dai-Kodo (lecture hall) was rebuilt in 990, Shoro (bell tower) was rebuilt in the middle of the Heian period (794-1185), and Sai-daimon gate was built in 1035. In 1069, the painter Hata no Munesada painted the “Shotoku-taishi Den” in Eden. It is said that the statues of Kissho-ten and Bishamon-ten in Kondo were completed in 1078. It is said that Shoryoin was built in 1121, and Oe-shiki to commemorate the legacy of Prince Shotoku-taishi began to be held at Shoryoin. It is said that in 1132, the Buddhist sculptor Kosho made a request to create the statue of Amida Nyorai, which is housed in the west room of Kondo, for Anahobe no Hashihito, the mother of Prince Shotoku-taishi. The statue of Amida Nyorai is said to have been completed in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). In 1250, Saishiendo was rebuilt, in 1284, the southern end of Higashi-Muro was transformed into Shoryoin, and in 1318, Kaminomido was rebuilt. In 1435, Nan-daimon Gate was destroyed by fire, and in 1438, Nan-daimon Gate is said to have been rebuilt by moving Sai-daimon Gate. It is said that Toyotomi Hideyori, son of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, repaired Horyu-ji Temple in 1606. It is said that Horyu-ji Temple was repaired in 1694 at the behest of Keishoin, the mother of Tsunayoshi Tokugawa, the 5th shogun of the Edo Shogunate.
*reference・・・Horyu-ji Temple website

【Horyu-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Kondo (Main Hall, 金堂, National Treasure) was built in 607 when Horyu-ji Temple was founded, but was destroyed by fire in 670 and later rebuilt in the late 7th century (Asuka period (592-710)). Kondo houses the statue of Shaka Sanson created for Prince Shotoku-taishi in the middle room, the statue of Yakushi Nyorai created for Prince Shotoku-taishi’s father, Emperor Yomei in the east room, and the statue of Amida Nyorai created for Prince Shotoku-taishi’s mother, Anahobe no Hashihito, in the west room.
★Gojyu-no-to (Five-story Pagoda, 五重塔, National Treasure) was built in 607 when Horyu-ji Temple was founded, but was destroyed by fire in 670 and later rebuilt in the late 7th century (Asuka period (592-710)). Gojyu-no-to is the oldest in Japan and is said to be the oldest five-story pagoda in the world. Gojyu-no-to houses the group of statues called “tohon-shimengu”, which is a national treasure, on the east, west, south, and north sides of the first tier.
★Yumedono (夢殿, National Treasure) is said to have been built in 739 by Gyoshin in memory of Prince Shotoku-taishi on the former site of Ikaruga-no-miya (palace), which was the residence of Prince Shotoku-taishi’s family. Yumedono is surrounded by Raido converted from Chu-mon gate and a corridor. Yumedono houses the statue of Kuze-Kannon, which is said to be the same size as Prince Shotoku-taishi.
法隆寺見どころ(西院伽藍) (Horyu-ji Temple Highlights)法隆寺見どころ(東院伽藍等) (Horyu-ji Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Onioi-shiki (鬼追式) is held every year on Setsubun Day. At Onioi-shiki, the red, blue, and black demons each perform a gesture and throw taimatsu (torches) at Saiendo, after which Bishamon-ten appears to drive the demons away and subdue their demonic nature. The red demon represents greed, the blue demon represents anger, and the black demon represents complaining.
★Oe-shiki (お会式) is held every year from March 22th to 24th. Oe-shiki is a memorial service for Prince Shotoku-taishi, the founder of Horyu-ji Temple, who died on February 22th, 622. At Oe-shiki, the main statue of Prince Shotoku-taishi at Shoryoin is opened.
★Ominugui (お身ぬぐい) is held every year on December 8th. In Ominugui, the statues of Shakya Sanzoni housed in Kondo and other Buddhist statues are wiped clean in preparation for the New Year.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see cherry blossoms (桜) is from late March to early April. Cherry trees such as weeping cherry, Somei-Yoshino, Yama^zakura, and Sato-zakura are planted, and the scenery of cherry blossoms, temple buildings such as Yumedono, and ponds is said to be beautiful.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-745-75-2555

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Horyu-ji Temple is to nearby Hoki-ji Temple and Chugu-ji Temple. Like Horyu-ji Temple, Hoki-ji Temple is a World Heritage Site, and its beautiful Sanjyu-no-to (Three-story Pagoda) is a symbol and landmark. A walk around Horyu-ji Temple gives you a sense of the history of the Asuka period (592-710).

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Horyu-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


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