Kofuku Ji, Nara
Kofuku Ji, one of the eight monuments designated by UNESCO as “Historic Monuments of Nara,” is a Buddhist temple and the headquarters for the Hosso school in Japan. The temple grounds contains an enormous five story pagoda as well as seven other national treasures and two important cultural properties. The grounds also holds the “National Treasure Museum,” which holds a great deal of sacred Buddhist art including the celebrated three-faced six-armed Ashura Statue.
Kofuku Ji History
Kofuku Ji was once the temple of the Fujiwara clan, one of the most influential families in the Heian Periods. The temple was established in 710, the same year as Nara became the capital, and has played a major role in Japan’s spiritual history since. In its influential peak, the temple complex is thought to have contained over 150 buildings. The temple’s influence was not restricted only in religious matters, but also in the imperial families decisions. Kofuku Ji has also been destroyed numerous times through civil war and fires. The temple would rebuild what was destroyed time after time, however eventually some buildings were permanently lost. Even some of the temple’s most prominent buildings were lost over time, including two of the three “Golden Halls.”
Kofuku Ji Attractions
Kofuku Ji’s temple grounds, albeit small, contains eight national treasures and two important cultural properties. Among these eight national treasures is the five story pagoda that stands tall next to the “East Golden Hall.” The pagoda can be seen throughout the temple grounds as well as throughout the city of Nara and offers some spectacular views. Created in 1426, this historical pagoda is a must see for anyone in Nara. The “East Golden Hall” next to the pagoda was once regarded as one of the three “Golden Halls” and is another national treasure.
The National Treasure Museum, holds a great deal of masterpieces and treasure that is important not just to the history of Japan, but to Buddhists all over the world. The museum houses a great deal of sacred Buddhist art that consists of paintings, sculptures, and other pieces that are sure to catch the eye. The biggest draw is the three-faced six-armed Ashura Statue. The statue is also regarded as a national treasure and is sure to impress.
There are two fairly important “Octagonal Halls” that are on two opposite sides of the complex. The “North Octagonal Hall” was constructed in 1210 and is considered to be a National Treasure. The “South Octagonal Hall” is fairly new in comparison and was created in 1741. Although one of the newer halls, the “South Octagonal Hall” is a major site on Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage as well as an Important Cultural Property.
- Admission: National Treasure Museum: 600 Yen, Eastern Golden Hall: 300 Yen
- Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
- Directions: Five minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or about a 20 minute walk from JR Nara Station.
Kofuku Ji Photos