We're offering audio guides that will lead you through the various structures within the Horyu-ji Temple grounds. These guides will spotlight distinct attributes and historical information, enabling you to establish a deeper connection with Horyu-ji Temple, a place linked to Prince Shotoku, who preached about the spirit of harmony in Japan.
Please use headphones when listening to the audio guide to avoid disturbing other visitors.
The main gate serves as the entrance to Horyu-ji Temple. It's an eight-pillar design showcasing the Sanken-Ikko style, a 3x2-bay gate with an entrance only through the central bay. Originally located on the stone steps in front of the Chūmon (middle gate) when the temple was constructed, it was later relocated to its current position due to its expansion.
The Chūmon, which served as the entrance to the Saiin Garan (western precinct), is distinct with its sheltered eaves. It follows a Yonken-Niko design, featuring two doors with approximately 7.3 meters between the two end pillars. The columns display entasis, and the upper part of the gate showcases the same pattern as found in the Kondō, the Manji-Kuzushi pattern, featuring decorative left-facing swastika patterns and split-roof lattice patterns reminiscent of the Kanji character symbolizing a person. In Japan, the left-facing swastika is an ancient symbol of Buddhism, considered to symbolize the auspicious footprints of the Buddha.
Standing as the oldest building in the Saiin Garan (western precinct), it exudes grace and durability, accentuated by its prominent eaves. The interplay between the East Asian hip-and-gable roof's dual-layered tile covering, the lower level's shingle roofing, the deep eaves rafters, Kumoto (cloud-shaped bearing blocks), and Kumohijiki (cloud-patterned bracket arms), creates a seamless blending of spaces.
The shaft of the fifth layer is half the dimensions of the first layer, contributing to its stability when combined with the expansive eaves. Kumohijiki (cloud-patterned bracket arms) delicately uphold the eaves, adding an engaging element for onlookers.
Originally standing independently outside the northern corridor, it was destroyed by a fire in 925, but was reconstructed in 990. Furthermore, the corridor was extended to the north and attached to it, creating a spacious and relaxing space in front of the hall.
Situated at Prince Shotoku's Ikaruga Imperial Palace, this revered site holds great historical importance. The esteemed monk Gyoshin, highly regarded by the imperial court, lamented the palace's decline and initiated the construction of a monastery in Prince Shotoku's honor. The Shoryo'e ceremony in 748 marked the beginning of this transformation, making it a revered sanctuary.
Surrounding the Yakushi Nyorai statue in the center of the hall are the statues of the Twelve Heavenly Generals, with the Thousand-Armed Kannon statue positioned to the east and the Fudo Myo-o statue to the north. An abundance of swords, bows, armor, mirrors, and various other items have been devoted to Yakushi Nyorai, serving as a testament to his extraordinary abilities.
Derived from the Sangyō Gishō (The Annotation of the Three Sutras), where Prince Shotoku provided annotations for three sutras—Shomangyō, Yuimakyō, and Hokekyō—the building was created by renovating the southern section of Nishimuro.