Hôryûji monastery, (in) Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Hôryûji, historically called Ikarugaji or Ikarugadera, was founded by Prince Regent Shôtoku in 607 CE (in the reign of Empress Suiko, 592-628, during the Asuka period), according to official inventory records and an engraving on the back of the halo of the statue of the Yakushi Nyorai Buddha in the Main Hall (Kondo). In 1939, archaeological excavations found the prince’s palace (Ikarugamiya) under the present Hôryûji compound's eastern precinct (Toin Garan), which was built by the Hossô scholar-monk Gyôshin Daisôzu. Legend says that the palace was destroyed in 643 by Soga Iruka, a political rival of Prince Shôtoku. The remains of a 6th-century temple, Wakakusa, lies to the south of the precincts. The 6th century Fujinoki burial ground is located 350 meters away, built in Korean style. The Nihon Shoki (Chronicles of Japan, compiled 720) reports that the original wooden structure burned down and was rebuilt in the 8th century. It is now considered to be the oldest surviving structure made of timber. The roof is tiled. In 1949, a fire destroyed the wall paintings of the main hall.
- Tamamuro (1992:780-781)
- Weinstein (1989:27)

Although it is now famous as the best preserved of the early temples, Hôryûji (as with Shitennoji in Osaka) was not central to seventh-century Japanese buddhist institutions until the rise of the "Shôtoku Taishi" cult in the late 7th, early 8th centuries. An excavation of 1939 uncovered the foundations of an earlier Korean-style temple to the southeast, possibly identified as Ikarugadera.
- McCallum (2009): "introduction" 4

The middle gate (chûmon) was for the buddhas. The lecture hall and monastic quarters was outside the walled enclosure with the golden hall, which indicates an effort to clearly distinguish between monks and buddhas.
- Kimura (1980: 43)

“Today, Horyuji is composed of the Western Precinct (Saiin Garan), which is centered around the Five-Story Pagoda (Goju-no-To) and the Main Hall (Kondo), and the Eastern Precinct (Toin Garan), which is arranged around the Hall of Visions (Yumedono). Throughout the 187,000-square-meter grounds are irreplaceable cultural treasures, bequeathed across the centuries and continuing to preserve the essence of eras spanning the entire journey through Japanese history since the 7th century.” - http://www.horyuji.or.jp/horyuji_e.htm

The famous Shaka Triad of 623 was crafted to commemorate Prince Regent Shôtoku's death by Tori Busshi, the leading sculpture under Empress Suiko, whose family, the Shiba clan, had immigrated from Korea. There is a mystery surrounding the Yumedono or Guze Kannon bodhisattva. A text of the Nara period (710-784) says that it dates to Shôtoku's time and represents the Prince as a Kannon. But it has mid-seventh-century characteristics that suggest Chinese influence of the Sui Dynasty.
- Weinstein (1989: 30, 37)

“The bracket work of Hōryū-ji resembles that on the remaining portion of a miniature Baekje gilt bronze pagoda. Since there is no extant architecture from the same period in Korea, and Hōryu-ji is the only wooden structure to have survived from that time, it may offer insights into what seventh century Baekje temples looked like. The Korean book Samguk Sagi (Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms), chronicling the affairs of Baekje, records that Prince Shotoku commissioned Baekje craftsmen to create the Yakushi, as an offering to ensure the recovery of his father from an illness.”
- http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Hōryū-ji

Hôryûji's earliest known Buddhist sub-tradition was the Sanron sect (Chinese, San-lun-tsung), introduced in 625, but is now extinct. A cult of Shôtoku began in the mid-seventh century. By the Kamakura period (1185-1333), it was the Hossô sect (Chinese, Fa-hsiang).
- Sherwood (1958: 179).

Lat: N34 37 00.0 Long: E135 44
Src: Japan

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Aug 26, 2009

Hōryūji (法隆寺 lit. Temple of the Flourishing Law?) is a Buddhist temple in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, Japan.

Ikaruga, Japan Page
Latitude 34.8333 Longitude 134.5833

Input by: tmciolek, Aug 27, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 08 Dec 2009

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 Horyuji monastery, JP.

General location of the Horyuji monastery, JP.
lat=34.614779 long=135.7339
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Hôryûji 法隆寺. Alternative English spelling: Horyuji, Hôryû-ji

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan, Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 34.614779 Long 135.7339, based on visual identification of the site in maps using http://maps.google.com, 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. Hôryû-ji is in Tomi-sato. - 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.
  • After the Asuka period (late 6th c. to early 7th c.): Hossô, Risshû [Ritsu] and Shingon sects.
  • Since 1951: Shôtoku sect.

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag 0600-32c - tmciolek 24 Apr 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

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 24 Apr 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • architecture, documents

16. Additional notes

  • Hôryûji had about 70 resident monks and a fief of 1,000 koku of rice.

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

  • [missing data]

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