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World Heritage / Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area

Criteria: (i) (ii) (iv) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 1993 | Location: Nara Prefecture | Justification for Inscription

UNESCO

Things to see

Hokki-ji Temple

Hokki-ji features Japan's largest and oldest three storied pagoda.

Hokki-ji is said to be the former Okamoto Palace site where Prince Shotoku lectured on the Lotus Sutra in 606AD before leaving a will dictating that his eldest child, Yamashiro no Oe no O should convert the palace into a temple when he died. For this reason the temple is also sometimes Okamoto-dera and interestingly, according to records of the time, Hokki-ji was originally constructed for use as a nunnery.
Some 16 years following Shotoku's death in 622AD, high priest Fukuryo built an image of the Maitreya (Future Buddha) in addition to the Kondo Main Hall (completed in 638AD) while a later high priest, Ese decided to build a treasure pagoda in 685AD with construction undertaken in 706AD.
Although the temple prospered during the Nara period (c. 8th century), it fell under the control of Horyu-ji Temple and its prosperity decreased during the following Heian period (8th-12th centuries). The Kodo (lecture hall) and the three storied pagoda were renovated during the Kamakura period (12th-14th centuries), however, the temple's good times deteriorated once again in the Muromachi period (14th-16th centuries) leaving only the pagoda standing by the early Edo era (17th-19th centuries). Lamenting this deterioration and wishing to rebuild the temple, Monk Shinsei Ennin and his disciples renovated the pagoda in 1678 in a building layout known as Hokkiji-style; a manner in which the pagoda is located in the eastern part of the grounds with the Kondo in the western section - far removed from the layouts found at Horyu-ji Sai-in Temple and Horin-ji Temple.
Three Storied Pagoda
The pagoda is the oldest pagoda of this size in existence today and was constructed in 706AD. The original style used during the initial construction remains unknown as the pagoda has been repeatedly renovated. The last renovation took place between 1970 and 1980 at which time the pagoda was fully dismantled and restored.
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