Kôryûji-1 monastery, (in) Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Kôryûji is considered the oldest temple in the former Yamashiro Province [Goedertier (1968: 159)], and one of the “Seven Great Temples” of Prince Shôtoku’s Ritsu-Ryô system. The first reference to Kôryûji, founded as Hachiokadera, is in Nihon Shoki 22. In 603, Hata no Kawakatsu ordered the construction of a temple in the name of Prince Shôtoku. The Hata clan traced its ancestry to one of the first of an estimated 100,000 immigrants from Korea in the 3rd century. They won the patronage of the Yamato imperial family because of their skill as craftsmen and silk weavers.

According to temple records of 890, Prince Shôtoku donated the red pinewood sculpture of the Miroku (Maitreya) bodhisattva, represented in a half-lotus position with one hand raised contemplatively to his chin. [It is almost identical to the late 6th century Mirŭk posal from either Paekche or Silla in the National Museum of Korea in Seoul, and may in fact be a copy. The style shows the influence of the Chinese Wei Dynasty on Korean carving. – Pak & Whitfield (2002: 114–6)]

Although Hachiokadera began as a clan temple, in the Nara period (710–794), it expanded under Abbott Dôshô as a center of the Sanron and Hossô sects. Courtiers commended land amounting to 44 cho, 4 tan, 192 bu (see “Area” in http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Japanese_units_of_measurement)).

In the Heian period (794–1185), Hachiokadera became a Shingon center known as Kôryûji. Its holdings increased as Shingon spread at court. Land in the account books was now referred to as “territory” (ryô) rather than “fields” (ta), reflecting the end of the Ritsu-Ryô system and the rise of a more feudal form of land ownership. Thanks in part to the patronage of powerful Fujiwara courtiers, Kôryûji acquired 15 estates consisting of farmland and woodland in 5 provinces (Kawachi, Ômi, Settsu, Tamba, and Yamashiro). Retired Emperor Toba (1103–1156), who resided at Kôryûji, donated 3 estates and a cloister. [Emperor Nijô was buried in a cloister there – Hurst (1976: 200)]. The exact number of resident monks is unclear, but at least 40 monks recited the nenbutsu in a memorial service of 858 for the repose of an emperor.

Setbacks of the Heian period include a monk Taihô, who ran away with the account books, and a great fire of 818.

- Yanaihara (1977: 77–95)

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Jul 13, 2011

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 31 Aug 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 Koryuji monastery, JP.

General location of the Koryuji monastery, JP.
Lat 35.011554 Long 135.70736
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2011.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Kôryûji 広隆寺. Alternative English spelling: Koryuji, Koryû-ji.

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Kyoto Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Hachiokasan - Uryû (2003: 231)
  • Uzumasadera - Uryû (2003: 231)
  • Kuzunodera - Uryû (2003: 231)
  • Kawakatsudera - Uryû (2003: 231)

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 35.011554 Long 135.70736 - based on the visual identification of the site in maps and satellite imagery in maps.google.com - tmciolek, 8 Sep 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

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

  • Kyôtô-shi (Kyoto City), Ukyô-ku, Uzumasa, Hachioka-chô

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Shingon, Omuro-ha - Uryû (2003: 231)
  • Maitreya worship (7th century), Sanron sect & Hossô sect (8th century), Shingon sect (9th century) – Yanaihara (1977: 83–4)

11. Date-early

  • Founded 603 - Uryû (2003: 231)

MBM chrono-tag 0600-32c - tmciolek 31 Aug 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

  • Had at least 40 monks in 858 AD - Yanaihara (1977:77-95)

13. Date-late

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 31 Aug 2013

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Documents, architecture, sculpture

16. Additional notes

  • Kôryûji, the oldest temple in Kyoto, had 19 sub-temples and cloisters, and jurisdiction over 600 koku of landed estates. – Tamamuro (1992: 228)
  • at least 40 monks in 858 AD - Yanaihara (1977:77-95)

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