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Gangō-ji Gokurakubō ( 元 興 寺 極 楽 坊 )

The Gangō-ji ( Japanese 元 興 寺 ) is considered the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan. Today he is in the city of Nara .


The Gangō-ji, whose original name was Hōkō-ji ( 法 興 寺 ), was built from 593-6 on behalf of Soga no Umakos . At that time it was also called Asuka-dera because it was located in Asuka (Takichi District, Yamato), the old capital area ( 飛鳥 寺 , 34 ° 28 ′ 43.1 ″  N , 135 ° 49 ′ 12.6 ″  E ). Together with the Yakushi-ji , it was moved to Heijō-kyō (Nara) in 716-8 at the behest of Emperor Genshō . This was called Shin-Gangō-ji ("new Gangō-ji") and the old Hon-Gangō-ji ("original Gangō-ji"). 605/6 16 Ellen Shaka Buddha were (and the other a copper an embroidered figure) completed for the king Yeongyang of Goguryeo 300 Ryō had donated "yellow metal" and were used as Honzon (main picture of grace) in the Kondō placed . The temple is one of the seven great temples of Nara. 20 years later, Sanron was first distributed from here .

In 780 the pagoda and Kondo went up in flames, in 887 ( Ninna 3rd year) the temple burned down again, but was rebuilt. Essentially, the Asuka-Daibutsu (Great Buddha) remained from the Hon-Gangō-ji . During the Nara period and shortly afterwards, the Shin-Gangō-ji made a lot of talk, so many were its buildings. Today only the Kannon Hall and the precious statues of the 11-headed Kannon (standing) and the Yakushi (Medicine Buddha) , which have been declared state treasures, are preserved .

It is part of a number of temples, shrines and palaces in Nara that UNESCO has declared World Heritage Sites.

National treasures and important cultural assets

The Gangō-ji complex has several national treasures. The Gokurakubō ( 極 楽 坊 ), a well-preserved ensemble of buildings consisting of the main hall (Hondo) and the Zen room (Zenshitsu), and the five-story, 5.50 m high miniature pagoda are classified as national treasures of Japan . The basement of this miniature pagoda (Go-ju-no-sho-to), whose wall panels are painted white, is built on the basis of 3 × 3 Ken. In total, the pagoda is 5.50 m high. The roofs are made of wood, but in the shape of Hongawarabuki.

Important cultural assets at the national level include a seated figure of Amida Nyorai, a standing figure of Prince Shotoku and a seated figure of Kobo Daishi. One of the most important cultural assets at the prefectural level is a figure of a Namu Buddha Taishi.

Pagoda ruin

The base platform of what was once a five-story pagoda (Gango-ji-to-ato) can be found in the south of the temple grounds near the Kegonshu Gango-ji temple. You can see the original structure: Each side is made up of four bases, so it was a 3 × 3 Ken construction. In the middle of the four inner bases is a particularly large base stone for the huge central wooden column that formed the backbone of the whole pagoda. The location away from the main building shows that the area used to be much larger and that the main part of the temple grounds is now covered by the Naramachi district.

Web links

Commons : Gangō-ji  - collection of images, videos and audio files
  • Entry on the UNESCO World Heritage Center website ( English and French ).
  • History (also predecessor temple: Asuka-dera)

Coordinates: 34 ° 40 ′ 40.1 ″  N , 135 ° 49 ′ 52.9 ″  E