Temple complex of Hōryū-ji in Nara, Japan.


Horyu-ji is a Buddhist temple complex in Japan and contains some of the oldest wooden structures in the world. Located in Ikaruga, Horyu-ji was first built around 607 C.E. but most of the existing buildings come from around 670 C.E. The individual buildings of Horyu-ji show an influence of Chinese architecture, from the use of the multi-tiered pagoda form, stepped eaves, tile roofs, and elaborate, bracketed internal support structure.

The "kondo," or golden hall, aligns with the four cardinal points - a feature that is commonly seen in Buddhist temples from India and China - and holds various sacred objects and wall paintings. The pagoda, likewise, is a foreign form that was introduced into Japan. Based upon the shape of the Indian stupa (a rounded mound), the pagoda is stands as a symbolic Buddhist monument and is often used to house sacred relics and writings. The pagoda form became popular in Japan once rulers like prince Shotoku set out to spread Buddhist relics and ideas throughout the land.


Horyu-ji pagoda.jpg
Horyu-ji Temple.jpg
Horyu-ji (full-view).jpg
Date Added
May 9, 2011
Item Type
Still Image
“Hōryū-ji,” Artists, Patrons, and Japanese Art, accessed April 26, 2018, http://artistandpatrons.omeka.net/items/show/15.