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

Raw data

According to the Shôtoku Taishi denreki and other 8th-century documents, Toyouradera was a nunnery built by Soga-no-Umako on the property of Empress Suiko’s former Toyoura palace, after the empress relocated to the Oharida palace in 603. There were already sections of an earlier temple on the same site, possibly the Mukuharadera, built by Umako’s father, as well as a “North pagoda” built by Umako in 585.

The site is fairly narrow, on a hillock called Amakashi-oka in Asuka Village. There are no surviving buildings, but archaeologists have uncovered the foundations of three structures on an axis running northeast within the precincts of a later temple (Kôgenji). The first structure is the central foundation stone of a pagoda, inscribed with the words “Empress Suiko’s Toyoura Palace,” and a date (the 6th year of Emperor Jomei's reign, i.e. 634). The second structure, lying behind it, consists of the presumed foundations of the main (golden) hall, which is 17 meters long from East to West and 14 meters long from North to South. Behind that are foundation stones that indicate a building of the same scale as Asukadera’s lecture hall. To the West of this presumed lecture hall are the remains of what may be a corridor leading to the nun’s quarters. Despite the comparable scale of the presumed lecture hall, the complex as a whole is much smaller than that of Asukadera.

Tiles found on the site point to a connection with Asukadera and Shitennôji. Toyouradera tiles are convex with floral patterns in the Korean Kudara style. The earlier, cruder tiles, which have star-shaped flower patterns, may have been leftover tiles supplied by Asukadera after its completion. Alternatively, they may have been fired in the same kiln that produced the Asukadera tiles. The kiln was most likely owned by the Soga clan, which had ties to Korea. Meanwhile, the later, more curved flower patterns bear a resemblance to the tiles at Shitennôji.

-“Toyouradera ato.”

In 588, Soga no Umako requested monks, nuns and skilled craftsmen from the Korean kingdom of Kuduara. When nuns did not arrive, five women from Japan were sent to train as nuns in Kudara, while Toyouradera was being constructed. On their return, they stayed at Sakuraidera, which may be an earlier name of Toyouradera.

- Tamura (1980: 44)

Src: Japan

Input by: Lizbeth H. Piel, Feb 14, 2010

Asuka, Japan Page
Lat 34.4667 Long 135.8167
Input by: tmciolek, Mar 15, 2010

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 27 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 Toyouradera nunnery, JP.

General location of the Toyouradera nunnery, JP.
Lat 34.48268 Long 135.8125
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2009.

Google Map link:,%20JP)&ll=34.48268,135.8125&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

  • Toyouradera 豊浦寺. Alternative English spelling: Toyoura-dera, Toyuradera

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • Japan: Nara Prefecture

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx Lat 34.48268 Long 135.8125 - visual identification of the Kôgenji temple in Toyoura in, maps - tmciolek, 15 Mar 2010.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

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

  • Asuka-mura (Asuka Village), Toyoura

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

  • Asuka, Toyoura no miya

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Mahayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

MBM chrono-tag 0633-66c - tmciolek 27 Jul 2014
0633-66c 0667-99p dated-e

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • [missing data]

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • A possible connection with Asukadera because of Soga clan patronage of both temples

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • Archaeological, documents

16. Additional notes

  • At least five nuns resided here - Tamura (1980: 44)

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

  • [missing data]

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