Tachibanadera nunnery, (near) Asuka, Nara Prefecture, JP

Raw data

Tachibanadera is located in what is now the Asuka Historical National Government Park in central Nara Prefecture. The name “Tachibana” means mandarin orange. According to the Nihon Shoki (720), the legendary Emperor Suinin sent his retainer Tajima Mori to Hitachi Province to find and bring back a mandarin orange, believed to prolong life. By the time Tajima returned, the Emperor had already died, so he planted a mandarin seed in the location of the future Tachibanadera's pagoda.

According to the temple’s engi (chronicle), Tachibanadera was one of 7 temples founded by Prince Shôtoku. It functioned as a nunnery, built on the site of one of Emperor Yomei’s residences where Prince Shôtoku was born. The prince was inspired to build it because a good omen appeared on the spot, while he was reciting the Shrimaladevi-simhanada Sutra (Shôman-gyô) for the ruling Empress Suiko.

Archaeological investigation shows that the original structure was large and laid out in a plan similar to that of Shitennôji in Osaka. Tachibanadera flourished as temple for the imperial family until the Kamakura period (1185-1333), when it declined. Today it is home to a branch of the Tendai sect. Most of the buildings date to the Edo period (1600-1868). What remains from the Asuka period (550-710) is a mysterious boulder with two crudely carved faces, believed to represent good and evil.

The main object of worship consists of the oldest known wooden statue of Shôtoku Taishi. There is also a well-known statue of Nyoirin Kannon (Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy) that dates to the early Heian period (794-1185).

- Tamamuro (1992:587-588)
- Nippon-kichi. http://nippon-kichi.jp/article_list.do;jsessionid=3046A49B8046D2A25E29BA8F44A4C249?kwd=2274&ml_lang=en
- Japan Wikipedia. http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/如意輪観音
- Kasugano Nara Kankô. http://www.kasugano.com/kankou/asuka/index3.html

Src: JPN

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Feb 13, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 19 Jul 2014

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 Tachibanadera nunnery, JP.

General location of the Tachibanadera nunnery, JP.
lat=34.47009 long=135.81716
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2009.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Tachibanadera 橘寺. Alternative English spelling: Tachibana-dera

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

  • Butto-zan Jogu Oin Bodaiji

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 34.47009 Long 135.81716 - based on visual recognition of the temple's site in maps.google.com, maps. - tmciolek, 15 Mar 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

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

  • Takaichi-gun (Takaichi District), Asuka-mura (Asuka Village), Tachibana

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • Asuka

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • Tendai

11. Date-early

  • Early 7th century. - Nihon meisatsu daijiten (1992:587-588)

MBM chrono-tag 0600-32p - tmciolek 19 Jul 2014
0600-32p 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

  • Edo period (1600-1868). In 1864, the main (golden) hall was rebuilt. - Nihon meisatsu daijiten (1992:587-588)

MBM chrono-tag 1200=> - tmciolek 19 Jul 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Tachibanadera is one of 7 temples said to be founded by Prince Shotoku

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data]

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

  • [missing data]

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