Nandai Gate (Photo: Lily Taki)

Horyu-ji Temple, Nara

The oldest wooden building in the world

Lily   - 2 min read

Horyu-ji Temple in Ikaruga Town, Nara Prefecture, is quite famous for being the oldest wooden building in the world. Under the name of 'Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area', the temple was registered as World Cultural Heritage site in 1993.

The huge 187,000 square metre site is divided into a number of areas; the Goju-no-tou 5-storied pagoda and the Kondou golden pavilion are features in the Saiin Garan western precinct while the Yumedono is the main feature of the Toin Garan eastern precinct.

It is said that Horyu-ji Temple was established in 607AD by Empress Suiko and Prince Shotoku Taishi. A great number of structures were built within the grounds following on from the 6th-century Asuka Period but among everythng else there, Japan's oldest 5-storied pagoda - and a National Treasure - makes quite the impact!

The Yumedono building, erected on the remains of what was once the Ikaruga-no-Miya former residence of Prince Shotoku Taishi, has also been designated as a National Treasure. A Kannon Bodhisattva statue, said to be the same size as the prince, is enshrined here. A precious Buddhist icon, the statue had been out of public sight until it had been discovered during the Meiji Period.

In the surrounding vicinity of Horyu-ji Temple, there are other World Heritage sites to be found, including Hokki-ji Temple. This makes a trip here very much recommended. The temple naturally attracts many visitors, including school students who regularly come on school excursions, particularly during the spring.

With so much ancient architecture in the area, visiting Horyu-ji Temple and its surrounds in Nara will definitely give you a feeling of Japan's long history.

Getting there

It is about a 20-minute walk from Horyji Station on the JR Yamatoji Line. Otherwise, a bus bound for Horyuji-sando will take you there in about 5 minutes.

More info

Find out more about Horyuji Temple.


Lily @u42574

Hello. My name is Lily. I love traveling not in Japan but also around the world! I grew up in Kanagawa prefecture.My hobby is to climb the mountains with my friends and do some outdoor sports such as scuba diving. I introduce you my favorite places here in Japan Travel!