Kairyûôji monastery, (in) Nara, Nara Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Kairyûôji is located on the east side of the Imperial Palace of Heijô (now Nara). It was named after a sutra that its chief abbot Genbô is said to have chanted during a storm at sea on his return journey to Japan [in 734]. -http://www.pref.nara.jp/nara_e/dd_aspx_itemid-1507.htm

Genbô traveled to China with the 8th official Nara Mission in 717 and studied the Consciousness Only school of Buddhism under Chih-chou [Zhizhou] (668-723), the 3rd patriarch of the Fa-hsiang School (Japanese: Hossô) at Pao-ch’eng-ssu temple in P’u-yang. – Fogel (1996: 22)

The alternative name, Sumidera (“temple in the corner”) possibly reflects its position in the corner of the Empress Consort's residence, which was formerly the estate of the Minister of the Right, Fujiwara Fuhito. The name Sumiin appears in records of 738 in the Shôsôin storehouse of Tôdaiji. Other evidence suggests that the temple had a special relationship to Fujiwara Fuhito’s daughter, Empress Kômyô, chief consort of Emperor Shômu. It is said that at her request, the monks copied over 5000 sutras apparently brought back from China by Genbô. Archaeological excavation in the 1960s reveals that temple was built on an older Asuka-period one that predates the founding of Heijô. - Hashimoto (1987: 93)

Kairyûôji declined when the capital of Japan was moved to Heian (now Kyoto), but in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) it was revived under the Shingon sect. It was pillaged during the Ônin War (1467-1477) and restored in the early modern period.

Src: Japan

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Sep 15, 2009

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 24 Apr 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 Kairyuo-ji monastery, JP.

General location of the Kairyuo-ji monastery, JP.
lat=34.69382 long=135.8063
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Kairyûôji 海流王寺. Alternative English spelling: Kairyûô-ji, Kairyuoji

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Sumidera, Sumi-in (Sumiin) - Hashimoto (1987: 93)
  • Temple in the Corner - Hashimoto (1987: 93)

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 34.69382 Long 135.8063 - based on visual identification of the site in maps.google.com - tmciolek, 7 Dec 2009

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • Hokkeji, Futaji

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

  • Hokkeji-cho in Nara-shi (Nara city)

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • Nara city was formerly Heijô

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Hossô, Shingon

11. Date-early

  • 731 - Tamamuro (1992:5)
  • MBM chrono-tag 0700-32c - tmciolek 24 Apr 2013
  • 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

  • Main Hall repaired or reconstructed in the Tokugawa period (1600-1868); West Main Hall and 5-story pagoda restored in 1908. - www.kairyuouji.jp/r_1.html
  •  MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 24 Apr 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • Contacts with Pao-ch’eng-ssu temple in P’u-yang, China between 717 and 734 AD – Fogel (1996: 22)

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • In the Edo period (1600-1868), it had a fief of 100 koku of rice - Tamamuro (1992:5)

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

  • [missing data]

end of page

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License