History Podcasts

Kondo, To-ji Temple

Kondo, To-ji Temple

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.


Hōryū-ji ( 法隆寺 , Temple of the Flourishing Dharma) is a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, in Ikaruga, Nara Prefecture, Japan. Its full name is Hōryū Gakumonji ( 法隆学問寺 ) , or Learning Temple of the Flourishing Law, the complex serving as both a seminary and monastery.

The temple was founded by Prince Shōtoku in 607, but according to the Nihon Shoki, in 670 all buildings were burned down by lightning. However, reconstructed at least 1,300 years ago, the Kondō (main hall) is widely recognized as the world's oldest wooden building. [1] [2]

A fire that broke out during the dismantling and repair of Kondo on January 26, 1949 destroyed a mural of the Asuka period, a national treasure, and shocked the Japanese. Based on this accident, the day when the fire broke out is now fire prevention day for cultural properties.

In 1993, Horyu-ji Temple, along with Hokki-ji, was registered as Japan's first UNESCO World Heritage site under the name of Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area.

A tree ring survey conducted in 2001 revealed that the shinbashira of the five-story pagoda were cut down in 594, before burned down in 670. [3]

The Symbol of Kyoto, the Five-Story Pagoda

This pagoda can be seen from Kyoto station. The closer you get to it, the more sighs will come out of your mouth admiring its hight.
The five-story pagoda of Toji temple is 55 meters in hight, making it the highest building made of wood in Japan.
It is said that Budda’s ashes, which were brought by Koboudaishi(弘法大師), are kept in the pagoda.

The five-story pagoda was built again and again each time it burnt down, and was loved as the symbol of Toji temple. The spirit of the building hasn’t changed up to this day.

In spring, it shows a beautiful collaboration with the weeping cherries.

A remarkable collection of Japanese Buddhist art

Behind the metal fences, a pleasant small Japanese garden unravels, traditionally arranged with a pond at its center. On the other side, the two halls that were circumnavigated earlier, now open for contemplation of the numerous Buddhist images they shelter, although taking pictures inside is forbidden. In Kodo, there are no less than 21 wonderful statues of Nyorai, Bodhisattvas, Myoo and Tenbu that are either listed as Important Cultural Assets, or National Treasures of Japan. In Kondo, a statue of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of medicine, is flanked by two other statues: Nikko Bosatsu and Gakko Bosatsu (respectively the Bodhisattvas of the sun and the moon).

Lastly the pagoda stands at the back of the small park, with no surrounding building that could put a shade on its height. Fascinating from afar, the tower is really impressive when considering it from its foot. First built in the 8th century, it was destroyed four times, of which once by thunder. Inside, around the central pillar, four statues of Buddha are placed at each corner of the square room. This intriguing place is open to visitors’ view only a few times a year.

The traditional aspects of Kyoto station’s surroundings are seldom highlighted, but there are nonetheless beautiful settings for those who stay or even just transit in the area. At least half a day is necessary to discover To-ji at the south exit, combined with the visits of Higashi-Hongan-ji temple, and above all Nishi-Honganji, easily accessible from the main northern entrance of the station.


Tōshōdai-ji ( 唐招提寺 ) is a Buddhist temple of the Risshū sect in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan. The Classic Golden Hall, also known as the kondō, has a single story, hipped tiled roof with a seven bay wide facade. It is considered the archetype of "classical style".

It was founded in 759 by the Tang dynasty Chinese monk Jianzhen during the Nara period. Jianzhen was hired by the newly empowered clans to travel in search of funding from private aristocrats as well.

Tōshōdai-ji is one of the places in Nara that UNESCO has designated as World Heritage Site "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".

A reflection written by Yan Wenjing on the hope for friendly Sino-Japanese relations describing the author's discovery of lotus flowers imported from China which had been planted around the portrait of Jianzhen in the Tōshōdai-ji is included as one of the oral assessment passages on the Putonghua Proficiency Test. [1]


Ninna-ji was founded in the early Heian period. In 886, Emperor Kōkō ordered the construction of the Nishiyama Goganji Temple to bless the nation and propagate Buddhist teachings, but he did not live to see its completion. Emperor Uda saw the construction to its completion in 888 [2] and named it "Ninna" after the regnal year of the late Emperor Kōkō's reign. From 888 to 1869 it was traditional for reigning Emperors to send a son to the temple to take over as head priest when a vacancy arose.

After retiring from his throne, Emperor Uda became the first Monzeki, or aristocratic priest, of Ninna-ji. From then on until the end of the Edo period, the temple saw a succession of head priests of imperial lineage.

In 1467, the temple was destroyed by fire and fighting in the Ōnin War. It was rebuilt roughly 150 year later, thanks to the eldest son of Emperor Go-Yōzei, Kakushin Hosshinnō, who enlisted the help of Tokugawa Iemitsu, the third shōgun of the Tokugawa shogunate. The resurrection coincided with the rebuilding of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and thus received imperial funding.

The tradition of having aristocratic or persons of imperial lineage serve as chief of the temple ended with the 30th Monzeki, Junnin Hosshinnō in the late Edo period.

Most of the surviving buildings date from the 17th century, and include a five-story pagoda and an orchard of late blooming dwarf cherry trees called the Omuro cherry trees that would grow to around 2–3 meters (10 feet) in height. [3] The temple itself features some beautifully painted screen walls, and a beautiful walled garden.


Origins Edit

The beginning of building a temple where the Kinshōsen-ji complex sits today can be dated to 728 CE, when Emperor Shōmu established Kinshōsen-ji (金鐘山寺) as an appeasement for Prince Motoi (ja:基王), his first son with his Fujiwara clan consort Kōmyōshi. Prince Motoi died a year after his birth.

During the Tenpyō era, Japan suffered from a series of disasters and epidemics. It was after experiencing these problems that Emperor Shōmu issued an edict in 741 to promote the construction of provincial temples throughout the nation. Later in 743 during the Tenpyō era the Emperor commissioned the Daibutsu to be built in 743. [4] Tōdai-ji (still Kinshōsen-ji at the time) was appointed as the provincial temple of Yamato Province and the head of all the provincial temples. With the alleged coup d'état by Nagaya in 729, a major outbreak of smallpox around 735–737, [5] worsened by several consecutive years of poor crops, followed by a rebellion led by Fujiwara no Hirotsugu in 740, the country was in a chaotic situation. Emperor Shōmu had been forced to move the capital four times, indicating a certain level of instability during this period. [6]

Role in early Japanese Buddhism Edit

According to legend, the monk Gyōki went to Ise Grand Shrine to reconcile Shinto with Buddhism. He spent seven days and nights reciting sutras until the oracle declared Vairocana Buddha compatible with worship of the sun goddess Amaterasu. [7]

Under the Ritsuryō system of government in the Nara period, Buddhism was heavily regulated by the state through the Sōgō ( 僧綱 , Office of Priestly Affairs) . During this time, Tōdai-ji served as the central administrative temple for the provincial temples [8] and for the six Buddhist schools in Japan at the time: the Hossō, Kegon, Jōjitsu, Sanron, Ritsu and Kusha. Letters dating from this time also show that all six Buddhist schools had offices at Tōdai-ji, complete with administrators, shrines and their own library. [8]

Japanese Buddhism during this time still maintained the lineage of the Vinaya and all officially licensed monks were required to take their ordination under the Vinaya at Tōdai-ji. In 754 CE, ordination was given by Ganjin, who arrived in Japan after traveling over 12 years and six attempts of crossing the sea from China, to Empress Kōken, former Emperor Shōmu and others. Later Buddhist monks, including Kūkai and Saichō received their ordination here as well. [9] During Kūkai's administration of the Sōgō, additional ordination ceremonies were added to Tōdai-ji, including the ordination of the Bodhisattva Precepts from the Brahma Net Sutra and the esoteric Precepts, or Samaya, from Kukai's own newly established Shingon school of Buddhism. Kūkai added an Abhiseka Hall to use for initiating monks of the six Nara schools into the esoteric teachings [10] by 829 CE.

Decline Edit

As the center of power in Japanese Buddhism shifted away from Nara to Mount Hiei and the Tendai sect, and when the capital of Japan moved to Kamakura, Tōdai-ji's role in maintaining authority declined. In later generations, the Vinaya lineage also died out, despite repeated attempts to revive it thus no more ordination ceremonies take place at Tōdai-ji.

Initial construction Edit

In 743, Emperor Shōmu issued a law stating that the people should become directly involved with the establishment of new Buddhist temples throughout Japan. The Emperor believed that such piety would inspire Buddha to protect his country from further disaster. Gyōki, with his pupils, traveled the provinces asking for donations. According to records kept by Tōdai-ji, more than 2,600,000 people in total helped construct the Great Buddha and its Hall contributing rice, wood, metal, cloth, or labor with 350,000 working directly on the statue's construction. [11] [12] [13] The 16 m (52 ft) [14] high statue was built through eight castings over three years, the head and neck being cast together as a separate element. [15] The making of the statue was started first in Shigaraki. After enduring multiple fires and earthquakes, the construction was eventually resumed in Nara in 745, [11] and the Buddha was finally completed in 751. A year later, in 752, the eye-opening ceremony was held with an attendance of 10,000 monks and 4,000 dancers to celebrate the completion of the Buddha. [16] The Indian priest Bodhisena performed the eye-opening for Emperor Shōmu. The project cost Japan greatly, as the statue used much of Japan's bronze and relied entirely on imported gold. [17] 48 lacquered cinnabar pillars, 1.5 m in diameter and 30 m long, support the blue tiled roof of the Daibutsu-den. [18]

Maps that include some of the original structures of Todai-ji are rare, though some still exist today. Some of these structures include, the two pagodas, the library, lecture hall, refectory, and the monk's quarters located behind the main hall. Todai-ji functioned not only as a place of worship and Buddhist practice, but as a place of higher learning and study. Much of what contemporaries now know about the original layout of the temple comes from the writings of monks who lived and studied there.

The original complex contained two 100 m pagodas, making them some of the tallest structures at the time. They were located on either side of the complex, one on the western (西塔) and one on the eastern side (東塔). [19] The pagodas themselves were surrounded by a walled courtyard with four gates. [20] These were destroyed by an earthquake. One of the sōrin finials survived and is standing at the spot where one of the pagodas used to stand.

The Shōsōin was its storehouse, and now contains many artifacts from the Tenpyō period of Japanese history.

Reconstructions post-Nara Period Edit

The Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden) has been rebuilt twice after fire. The current building was finished in 1709, and although immense—57 metres (187 ft) long, 50 metres (160 ft) wide and 49 metres (161 ft) high—it is actually 30% smaller than its predecessor, being reduced from 11 to 7 bays wide due to lack of funds. Until 1998, it was the world's largest wooden building. [21] It has been surpassed by modern structures, such as the Japanese baseball stadium Odate Jukai Dome, amongst others. The Great Buddha statue has been recast several times for various reasons, including earthquake damage. The current hands of the statue were made in the Momoyama Period (1568–1615), and the head was made in the Edo period (1615–1867).

The existing Nandaimon (Great South Gate) was constructed at the end of the 12th century based on Daibutsuyō style, after the original gate was destroyed by a typhoon during the Heian period. The dancing figures of the Nio, the two 8.5-metre-tall (28 ft) guardians at the Nandaimon, were built around the same time by the artists Unkei, Kaikei, and their workshop staff. The Nio are an A-un pair known as Ungyo, which by tradition has a facial expression with a closed mouth, and Agyo, which has an open mouthed expression. [22] The two figures were closely evaluated and extensively restored by a team of art conservators between 1988 and 1993. Until then, these sculptures had never before been moved from the niches in which they were originally installed. This complex preservation project, costing $4.7 million, involved a restoration team of 15 experts from the National Treasure Repairing Institute in Kyoto. [23]

Dimensions of the Daibutsu Edit

The temple gives the following dimensions for the statue: [24]

  • Height: 14.98 m (49 ft 2 in)
  • Face: 5.33 m (17 ft 6 in)
  • Eyes: 1.02 m (3 ft 4 in)
  • Nose: 0.5 m (1 ft 8 in)
  • Ears: 2.54 m (8 ft 4 in)

The statue's shoulders are 28 meters across and there are 960 six curls atop its head. [25] The Birushana Buddha's golden halo is 27 m (87 ft) in diameter with 16 images each 2.4 m (8 ft) tall. [26]

Recently, using x-rays, a human tooth, along with pearls, mirrors, swords, and jewels were discovered inside of the knee of the Great Buddha these are believed to be the relics of Emperor Shomu. [27]

The statue weighs 500 tonnes (550 short tons).

Various buildings of the Tōdai-ji have been incorporated within the overall aesthetic intention of the gardens' design. Adjacent villas are today considered part of Tōdai-ji. Some of these structures are now open to the public.

Over the centuries, the buildings and gardens have evolved together as to become an integral part of an organic and living temple community.

The Tōdai-ji Culture Center opened on October 10, 2011, comprising a museum to exhibit the many sculptures and other treasures enshrined in the various temple halls, along with a library and research centre, storage facility, and auditorium. [28] [29] [30]

The architectural master-works are classified as:

National treasures
Romaji Kanji
Kon-dō (Daibutsuden) 金堂 (大仏殿)
Nandaimon 南大門
Kaizan-dō 開山堂
Shōrō 鐘楼
Hokke-dō (Sangatsu-dō) 法華堂 (三月堂)
Nigatsu-dō 二月堂
Tegaimon 転害門

  • 728: Kinshōsen-ji, the forerunner of Tōdai-ji, is established as a gesture of appeasement for the troubled spirit of Prince Motoi.
  • 741: Emperor Shōmu calls for nationwide establishment of provincial temples, [31] and Kinshōsen-ji appointed as the head provincial temple of Yamato.
  • 743: The Emperor commands that a very large Buddha image statue shall be built—the Daibutsu or Great Buddha—and initial work is begun at Shigaraki-no-miya. [32]
  • 745: The capital returns to Heijō-kyō, construction of the Great Buddha resumes in Nara. Usage of the name Tōdai-ji appears on record. [33]
  • 752: The Eye-opening Ceremony celebrating the completion of the Great Buddha held. [34]
  • 855: The head of the great statue of the Buddha Vairocana suddenly fell to the ground and gifts from the pious throughout the empire were collected to create another, more well-seated head for the restored Daibutsu. [35]

Matsuo Bashō refers to the Great Buddha statue in a haiku (1689–1670): 初雪や / いつ大仏 / の柱立.
"First snow!/ When Buddha's great statue/ pillar-erection" [36]
"First snow and / there stands the great Buddha / a pillar of strength" [37]

Tōdai-ji has been used as a location in several Japanese films and television dramas. It was also used in the 1950s John Wayne movie The Barbarian and the Geisha when Nandaimon, the Great South Gate, doubled as a city's gates.

On May 20, 1994, the international music festival The Great Music Experience was held at Tōdai-ji, supported by UNESCO. Performers included the Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra, X Japan, INXS, Jon Bon Jovi, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tomoyasu Hotei, Roger Taylor, classic Japanese drummers, and a Buddhist monk choir. This event, organized by British producer Tony Hollingsworth, was simultaneously broadcast in 55 countries on May 22 and 23, 1994.

The 2007 animation series Mononoke (モノノ怪), which is a spin-off of the 2006 horror anthology series Ayakashi: Samurai Horror Tales, references the Tōdai-ji, particularly the treasure room Shōsōin, in Episodes 8 and 9.

The Tōdai-ji is used as the Japanese wonder in Age of Empires II.

Following the April 2019 fire that damaged the spire of another UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, Japanese authorities declared plans to expand fire prevention measures at several historic locations including Todai-ji in Nara, partly by hiring new, younger employees in a context where temple and shrine staff are aging. [38] Custodians of Todaiji temple also installed a donation box, stating "Let's Rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral", in the hallway behind the Great Buddha statue. In June 2019, a sign next to the box, in Japanese and English, explained why Todai-ji, as headquarters of the Kegon sect of Buddhism, was soliciting funds in this way. The English version declared, "Todai-ji temple has been reconstructed every time it burned down by big fires thanks to the significant effort of many people. We sincerely express our deepest sympathy for the tragedy that hit the Notre-Dame de Paris. Going beyond the creed, we would like to ask everyone for your support to reconstruct the cathedral."

The force of the real 3D Mandala is goosebumps stuff!

The real 3D Mandala, which Kukai expressed the world of the esoteric Buddhism with 21 statues of Buddha is laid in Kodo (Lecture Hall). It is said that this is the message Kukai wanted to convey no matter what.

Including Dainichi Nyorai, 15 of 21 statues are the product in the first half of the Heian Era, and they are appointed to a national treasure. Because they are the objects of the faith, they are enshrined in the space without being in the glass case, even the Buddha statues are precious art objects. Therefore, the feeling of the air, presence, smell and the sense of unity are amazing.
I would like you to pay attention at Taishakuten that is popular as a good-looking Buddha. It is gallant and thoughtful: it is surely very handsome. Please face Buddha statues and spend a relaxed time.


  • Admission Free
  • Kondo Hall, Kodo Hall, Five-story pagoda: 800 yen (General, Adult) 700 yen (Senior high student) 500 yen (Child) *January 1 - March 18, April 26 - May 26
  • Kondo Hall, Kodo Hall, Five-story pagoda: 500 yen (General, Adult) 400 yen (Senior high student) 300 yen (Child) *March 20 - April 25, May 27 - December 31
  • Treasure House: 500 yen (General, Adult) 300 yen (Child) *March 20 - May 25, September 20 - November 25

To-ji Temple

F ounded at the beginning of the Heian period right after the capital was moved in Kyoto, To-ji (Toji) temple or the East temple in English was built. Together with its now-defunct sister temple Saiji or West temple To-ji was among Kyoto’s largest temples and served the capital’s guardian temples.

Only 30 years after it was established To-ji was appointed by the founder of the Shingon Japanese Buddhism sect, Kobo Daishi as Japan’s second most important Shingon temple.

To-ji is made of three major buildings with the main hall, the Kondo Hall with its gorgeous wooden statue of the Yakushi Buddha. With Ko-do hall which was erected in 825 by Kobo Daishi served as a lecture hall. Finally, a five-story pagoda was built one year later in 826 under the supervision of Kobo Daishi as well.


F ondé au début de l’ère Heian, juste après que la capitale ait été déplacée dans Kyoto, le temple To-Ji, se traduisant par “Temple de l’Est”, a été construit. Avec le temple Saiji (Temple de l’Ouest) qui n’existe plus aujourd’hui, To-Ji faisait partie des plus vastes temples de Kyoto et tous deux étaient considérés comme les temples gardiens de la capitale.

Seulement 30 ans après sa construction, To-Ji a été reconnu par le fondateur de la secte bouddhiste japonaise Shingon, Kobo Daishi, comme le second plus important temple Shingon du pays.

To-Ji est composé de trois bâtiments majeurs dont le hall principal, le Hall Kondo avec sa magnifique statue de bois du Bouddha Yakushi. Vient ensuite le Hall Ko-do érigé en 825 par Kobo Daishi et qui servait comme lieu de conférence. Enfin, une pagode de 5 étages fut construite en 826 également sous la supervision de Kobo Daishi.


E l Templo To-ji (Toji) o Templo del Este en español, fue fundado a comienzos del período Heian justo cuando la capital fue trasladada a Kioto. Era uno de los templos más grandes junto con su ya desaparecido templo hermano, Saiji o Templo del Oeste, que servían como templos protectores de la capital.

Sólo 30 años después de que se fundara, Kobo Daishi, fundador de la secta budista japonesa Shingon, lo nombró el segundo templo más importante de dicha secta.

To-ji está compuesto por tres edificios fundamentales: el salón principal, el salón Kondo con su extraordinaria estatua de madera del Buda Yakushi y el Salón Ko-do que fue construido en el año 825 por Kobo Daishi y se usaba como Salón de Lecturas. Por último, un año después, en el 826 se construyó una pagoda de cinco pisos también bajo la supervisión de Kobo Daishi.


I l tempio To-ji (Toji) o il tempio orientale in italiano fu costruito all’inizio del periodo Heian subito dopo che la capitale fu trasferita a Kyoto. To-ji era tra i più grandi templi di Kyoto insieme al suo tempio gemello ormai scomparso, Saiji o il tempio occidentale e serviva come tempio protettore della capitale.
Solo 30 anni dopo la sua fondazione To-ji fu nominato dal fondatore della setta del buddismo giapponese Shingon, Kobo Daishi, il secondo tempio Shingon più importante del Giappone.

To-ji è composto da tre edifici principali con la sala principale, la sala Kondo con la sua splendida statua in legno del Buddha Yakushi. Con la sala Ko-do, eretta nell’825 da Kobo Daishi, serviva da sala di lettura. Finalmente, un anno dopo, nell’826, fu costruita anche una pagoda a cinque piani sotto anche la supervisione di Kobo Daishi.

Translated from English version by Luigi Carletti – LCtraduzione for more translation and subtitle service visit www.proz.com/profile/93331


A Heian korszak elején alapították, közvetlenül a főváros Kyoto költöztetése után, a To-ji (Toji) templomot, másnéven Keleti templomot megépítették. A mára már megszűnt testvértemplom, Saiji vagy másnéven Nyugati templommal együtt To-ji beletartozott Kyoto legnagyobb templomai közé, továbbá szolgálta a főváros védelmét.

30 évvel azután, hogy megalapításra került a To-Ji, a Shingon japán buddhizmus szektájának alapítója, Kobo Daishi kinevezte a második legfontosabb shingoni templommá.

A To-ji három fő épületből tevődik össze, a főteremmel aminek Kondo a neve és itt található a gyönyörű fából készült Yakushi Buddha. A Ko-Do terem, Kobo Daishi által 825-ben készült, előadóteremként szolgált. Végül egy ötemeletes pagoda, ami egy évvel később 826 -ban készült el szintén Kobo Daishi felügyelete alatt.

Watch the video: Mieku Kobo-ichi market To-ji Temple - Kyoto, Japan October 21, 2018 (June 2022).


  1. Ebo

    I mean you are not right. Enter we'll discuss it. Write to me in PM, we'll talk.

  2. Heathleah

    Thank you, left to read.

  3. Tadleigh

    I would like to talk to you.

  4. Stroud

    This remarkable thought, by the way, just falls

  5. Durwin

    Your notes helped me a lot.

Write a message