Soul of the Garden

Images of Japan: Horyu-ji, Nara

Horyu-ji sits on the western edge of Nara. This temple is  the earliest of the great Buddhist temple compounds in Japan and is considered to be one of the most significant temples in the nation. Founded in 607, Horyu-ji shows a heavy Chinese influence in its architecture. Its wooden buildings, many of them original, are among the oldest in the world. When we visited there were intermittant showers, the only rain we encountered on our trip that actually hindered our touring, so I was not able to take as many images as I would have liked. However, it was lovely to be alone in the quiet courtyards of this beautiful site. There is an excellent museum here displaying many of the temple's artisitic treasures.

The Daiko-do or lecture hall of the compound. Behind it is a five story pagoda dating from 990. The pagoda was disassembled during the Second World War to protect it from bombing raids.


The pagoda and a banner.


The Yumedono (Hall of Dreams) a meditation hall used by the Prince who founded the complex. (Dates from the seventh century.)


Gardens in front of monk's living quarters.


A closer view.

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