Hōryūji (法隆寺, ) is a large Buddhist temple complex situated in Ikaruga Town (near Nara), Nara Prefecture in Kansai region of Japan.


Entering the temple grounds

The town of Horyuji has grown around the eponymous temple of Horyuji, the "Temple of the Flourishing Law". One of Japan's oldest and grandest Buddhist temples, the temple dates back to 607, when it was constructed on the order of Prince Shotoku to house an image of the Yakushi (Medicine) Buddha, and was designated among Japan's first UNESCO World Heritage sites. It's also the oldest surviving wooden structure in the world.

Get in

JR Horyuji station is on the Yamatoji line, 12 minutes from Nara, 2 mins from Oji and 23 minutes from Tennōji in Osaka. The temple is located 20 minutes on foot from the station, although if you don't like walking, you can take a bus to spare yourself the hike: buses also run frequently and direct from in front of Oji station.

Get around

The temple can only be covered on foot.


Horyuji in Tokyo

If you want to see a piece of Horyuji without the hassle of going there, the National Museum in Ueno, Tokyo has an entire building devoted to works donated by the temple.

The sprawling grounds of the temple (over a kilometer wide) pack in no less than 20 gates or buildings designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties. The area can be divided into the Western Temple (西院 Sai-in) and the Eastern Temple (東院 Tō-in), the western area being the older of the two. The temple is open daily from 8AM to 4:30PM (or later) and admission is a whopping ¥1000.

The following listing is in the order of the usual recommended itinerary, starting from the usual approach at the southern gate and ending at the eastern end of the complex.

Western Temple

Kondō (left), Gojūnotō (right)

Eastern Temple


From here you can walk 5 minutes south to the main road and catch a bus back to the station.

Buy, Eat & Drink

The approach to the temple is lined with the usual array of eateries, teahouses and souvenir shops. What looks like a Country and Western bar (complete with a plastic horse in the parking lot) is a very good okonomiyaki restaurant.


Most visitors choose to daytrip from Nara or other cities nearby.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, August 23, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.