Chûgûji nunnery, (in) Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Chûgûji is one of the seven temples presumably built by Prince Regent Shôtoku (reign of Empress Suiko, Asuka period), according to Hôryûji records of 747. The Heian period (794-1185) Legend of Prince Shotoku (Shôtoku Taishi denreki) claims that Prince Shôtoku built this nunnery in honor of his deceased mother, Anahobe no Hashihito, on the site of her original palace. An alternative legend attributes it to Prince Shôtoku's consort, Tachibana no Oiratsuna, who wished to honor her husband after his death. In 1274, the head nun Shinnyo, who renovated and rebuilt Chûgûji, discovered an embroidery, the Tenjukoku Mandala, in storage at Hôryûji. This embroidery, which has become one of the principle treasures of Chûgûji, along with the statue of the Miroku bodhisattva, was stitched by Tachibana no Oiratsuna's ladies-in-waiting and depicts Prince Shôtoku's rebirth as emperor in Heaven.

The temple now stands next to the northeast corner of the Eastern Precinct (Toin Garan) of Hôryûji, but this is not the original location. It was moved roughly 400 meters to the East, probably in the late 16th century. Archeological excavations in 1963 located traces of the original main hall and pagoda, revealing that it had been surrounded by three palaces: Ikarugamiya (Prince Shôtoku's residence), Ashigakimiya and Okamotomiya, which may explain the name "Chûgû" (center of palaces).

-Tamamuro (1992: 599)

Src: Japan

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Sep 03, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 13 Jan 2013

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Chugu-ji nunnery, JP.

General location of the Chugu-ji nunnery, JP.
lat=34.6149 long=135.7399
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20JP)&ll=34.6149,135.7399&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=enn

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Chûgûji 中宮時. Alternative English spelling: Chuguji, -.

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Ikaruga-amadera - Tamamura (1992: 599)
  • Hôkô-amadera - Tamamura (1992: 599)

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., lat=34.6149 long=135.7399 - visual identification in - tmciolek, 8 Dec 2009

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

Note: the town of Ikaruga was created in 1947, when a smaller township, Tatta-chô, and a hamlet, Tomi-sato, were merged. - Nihon chimei jiten (1998: 78).

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • Historical name: Tomi-sato.

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Sanron sect - Sherwood (1958: 179)
  • Shôtoku sect - Tamamura (1992: 599)
  • Hôkô sect - Tamamura (1992: 599)

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag: 0600-32c - tmciolek 13 Jan 2013
  • 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag: 1200=> - tmciolek 13 Jan 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • From the beginning, Chûgû-ji had contact with Hôryûji through its proximity. In the Tokugawa period (1600-1864), it became a subsidiary temple to Shitennô-ji. - Tamamura (1992: 599)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeology, architecture, temple documents

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data]

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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