Front of the Main Hall at Asuka-dera, Asuka, Nara
Great Buddha of Asuka-dera

Asuka-dera (飛鳥寺), also known as Hōkō-ji (法興寺), is a Buddhist temple in Asuka, Nara. Asuka-dera is regarded as one of the oldest in Japan.

Temple complex

A number of records refer to the origin of the temple, such as the Nihongi and Fusō-ryakuki. The original buildings of what was then called Hōkō-ji were constructed in 588, shortly after the introduction of Buddhism from Baekje, one of the three principal states on the Korean peninsula, according to various sources including Buddhism in Japan.[1][2]

Following the transfer of the capital from Asuka to Heijō-kyō (now Nara city), the buildings of Asuka-dera were also removed from the original site in Asuka to Nara in 718 CE, and developed into a huge temple under the name of Gangō-ji. The original site of the Hōkō-ji was also maintained as a temple which survives into modern times.[1]

The main object of worship at Asuka-dera is the bronze Great Buddha, which said to be made by Kuratsukuri no Tori in the early seventh century. The statue is a designated an Important Cultural Property.

Sculpture of Prince Shōtoku depicted as a bodhisattva in Asuka-dera, Asuka, Nara

See also


  1. ^ a b Martin, John et al. (1993). p. 121;Nara: A Cultural Guide to Japan's Ancient Capital,
  2. ^ Aston, William. (2005). , p. 101.Nihongi


External links

  • Asuka Historical Museum website
  • Gango-ji as world heritage site (JAL)
  • Gango-ji in context of Nara tourism