Kofuku-ji Temple, Nara
Kofukuji Temple is one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara. Founded in 669 by Kagami-no-Himehiko, wife of Fujiwara-no-Kamatari, this was the Fujiwara family temple and the principal temple of the Hosso sect. Originally erected in Kyoto under the name of the Yamashina-dera, it was removed in 678 to Umasaka, and when the new capital was founded in 710 was transferred to its present site by Fubito, son of Kamatari, and renamed the Kofukuji. As the power of the Fujiwara family increased, so too did the importance of the temple, which in its heyday comprised a total of 175 buildings. Most of these, however, were destroyed during the fighting between the Minamoto and Taira families in the 12th C.The surviving buildings can be seen from the former site of the great south gate. Among them is an octagonal hall, the Nan-endo, built by Fujiwara Fuyutsugu in 813 and rebuilt in 1741. Its principal treasure is a statue of Fukukenjaku-Kannon, carved in 1188 by Kokei, father of Unkei; also very fine are statues of the four celestial guardians and the six patriarchs of the Hosso sect. In front of the hall is a 9th C bronze lantern with an inscription attributed to Kobo-daishi - southwest of this stands a three-story pagoda, a graceful structure of the Fujiwara period.North of the Nan-endo is the Hoku-endo (Northern hall), also on an octagonal plan. This was originally built for the Empress Gensho in 721 in memory of Fubito, founder of the Kofukuji Temple, and rebuilt in 1208. It contains a wooden statue of Miroku-bosatsu (1212), probably by Unkei. To the east can be found the Chu-kondo, a hall built in 710 and rebuilt in 1819, with a wooden statue of Shakyamuni.The To-kondo (East Hall), rebuilt in its original form in 1415 after repeated destructions, contains a 15th C statue of Yakushi-nyorai, together with statues of Nikko-bosatsu and Gakko-bosatsu (probably 8th C) and other sculpture.Facing this hall to the south is a five-story pagoda erected in 730 by Komyo, wife of Shomu-tenoo, burned down five times and rebuilt in its original form in 1426. The second highest pagoda in Japan (164ft/ 50m), it is a notable example of Nara architecture; it contains statues of Amida-nyorai, Shakyamuni, Yakushi-nyorai and Miroku-bosatsu. Northeast of the Tokondo is the Kokuhokan or Treasury, built in 1959, which contains a variety of art treasures belonging to the temple. Particularly notable are a bronze head of Buddha (7th C), a carved wooden group of the Juni-shinsho ("Twelve Celestial Generals", Heian period), two No figures (Kongo and Misshaku), a statue of Ashura in dry lacquer technique (Early Nara period) and two guardian figures (Kongo-rikishi).
Map of Nara Attractions