Gangoji Temple, Nara
Gangoji Temple is the temple of the Shingon Risshu sect in Nara Park. Hokoji Temple (the current Asukaji Temple), the oldest temple in Japan, is its predecessor and was valued as an important historic value that continues from the Asuka period, and it was registered as a world heritage site. In addition, Gokuraku-do Main Hall and Zen-shitsu Room are national treasures, East Gate is designated as important cultural asset, etc. It is a treasure house of cultural properties. It is also called a flower temple, and you can enjoy strolls of beautiful flowers through the four seasons, such as Kikyo (Bellflower) and Hagi (Bush Clover).
Hokoji Temple which is the oldest temple in Japan that SOGA no Umako built on Asuka area in 588 is the beginning of Gangoji Temple. It was moved to Nara along with the capital of the Heijo-kyo Capital site in 710, and it was named Gangoji Temple. During the Nara period, the temple was prosperous, boasting the vast site comparable to Todaiji and Kofukuji, but it gradually wane from the middle of the Heian era.
The current Main Hall and the Zen-shitsu Room were once a building called Sobo (Monks’ lodging house), a place where monks lived a life. Even now, the roof of the Main Hall and the Zen-shitsu Room are partially using the ancient tile of the Asuka period. They are arranged in a unique way called Gyoki roofed-style which was laid so that round roof tile and flat tile overlap. Among them, the roof tiles carried from Hokoji Temple are often of reddish color tones, so it would be fun to look for the ancient tile while looking up at the roof.
“Futoden”, no less than 2,500 sets of collecting the guardian deity of children and stone towers from the temple or the local circumference. This name was given because it seems that the rice plant in the rice field is lining up. It is located in the southwest of the precincts, and at that time it was prayed that ‘jodo ojo’ (go to the Pure Land) as a sanctuary tower.
Even now, Jizo-e Manto Kuyo-e (an event to commemorate Jizo as the protector of children, and offering many votive lights) is held at the end of August every year, and many people are praying for Jizo Bosatsu “safety of one’s family” I am praying for “state of perfect health.” As the sun goes down, it is fantastic that hundreds of dish of candle stands are lighted and the lights are swaying.
|Address:||11, Chuincho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture, 630-8392|
|Access:||Kintetsu Nara-sen Line “Kintetsu-Nara-eki Station” (15 minutes walk)|
|Price/Charge:||Adults: 500 yen (600 yen during the special autumn exhibition)
Junior- and high-school students: 300 yen
Elementary-school students: 100 yen
Please refer the official web page.