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Horyuji Temple (@, Hōryūji) was founded in 607 by Prince Shotoku, who is credited with the early promotion of Buddhism in Japan. Horyuji is one of the country's oldest temples and contains the world's oldest surviving wooden structures. It was designated a world heritage site in 1993. Horyuji's temple grounds are spacious and separated into two main precincts, the Western Precinct (Saiin Garan) and the Eastern Precinct (Toin Garan).

Enclosed by roofed corridors, the Western Precinct is home to the world's oldest surviving wooden structures: the central gate (Chumon), the main hall (Kondo) and a five-story pagoda. They were built sometime in the Asuka Period (538-710) and have not suffered destruction ever since, although they have undergone renovations multiple times over the centuries.

The central gate is guarded by Japan's two oldest statues of Kongo Rikishi, the pair of muscular deities often seen flanking large temple gates. The main hall houses some of Japan's oldest statues of Buddha, rare creations surviving from the Asuka Period. Visitors can witness the evolution of Japanese Buddha statues by visiting the nearby great lecture hall (Daikodo) which exhibits statues from the Heian Period (794-1185) and have lost the more Indian appearance of earlier creations.

The Eastern Precinct can be found on the eastern side of the temple grounds, a five minute walk from the Western Precinct. In its center stands the octagonally-shaped Yumedono (Hall of Visions), which is dedicated to Prince Shotoku and houses a life-sized statue of the prince surrounded by statues of Buddha and various monks.

Between the two precincts stands the Gallery of Temple Treasures, which was built in 1998 to exhibit a part of the temple's huge art collection. Various statues of Buddha as well as Buddhist relics, artwork and paintings are on display inside. The entrance to the treasure hall is located towards the back of the complex near the Eastern Precinct.

Chuguji Temple ({, Chūgūji) is a separate temple located just behind Horyuji's Eastern Precinct. Chuguji is worth a visit for its celebrated main object of worship, a beautifully carved statue of a sitting Buddha who puts his right leg on his left and smiles gently. Note that a separate ticket is required for entry to Chuguji Temple.

Those who are unable to visit Horyuji in person may be interested to see a collection of the temple's religious objects that is on permanent display in Tokyo at the Horyuji Homotsukan building of the Tokyo National Museum.

Getting there and around

Horyuji is located about 12 kilometers outside of central Nara.

By train

From JR Nara Station, take the frequently departing Yamatoji Line to Horyuji Station (12 minutes, 220 yen). From there it is a 20 minute walk or short bus ride by bus number 72 to the temple (190 yen one way, departures every 20 minutes). Get off at the Horyujisando bus stop.

By bus

From JR or Kintetsu Nara Station, take bus number 98 to Horyuji-mae. The one way ride takes about one hour and costs 770 yen. There is one bus per hour. The bus line from Horyuji back to central Nara is numbered 97.

How to get to and around Nara

Hours and Fees

Horyuji Temple

Hours

8:00 to 17:00 (until 16:30 from early November to late February)

Closed

No closing days

Admission

1500 yen

Chuguji Temple

Hours

9:00 to 16:30 (until 16:00 from October to late March); admission ends 15 minutes before closing

Closed

No closing days

Admission

600 yen

Hotels around Nara

Top rated in Nara
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    • Guest House Oku
      Budget-friendly
      A 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, Guest House Oku is located a 15-minute walk from JR Nara station. Guest House Oku features a total of 3 guest rooms and free WiFi throughout the property. All rooms come with air conditioning. A toilet and shower is available for guests. You will find luggage storage space at the property. Kofuku-ji is 900 metres from Guest House Oku, while Todaiji Temple is 1.4 km away. Kansai International Airport is a 95-minute limousine bus ride away.
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    • NARA Visitor Center and Inn
      Budget-friendly
      The Nara Visitor Center and Inn is situated in the heart of Nara, just a 3-minute walk from Kofuku-ji Temple and Naramachi. The Todai-ji Temple and Deer Park are a 10-minute stroll away, while Nara Station on the Kintetsu Line is a 7-minute walk. JR Nara Station is 14-minutes away on foot. All guest rooms feature air conditioning and heating, and are equipped with a fridge and flat-screen TV. Japanese samue nightwear are available to all staying guests. Some units come equipped with an en suite bathroom with a shower, while some Japanese-style rooms come with an en suite shower. Japanese-style rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. The property offers free WiFi access and a 24-hour front desk. Luggage storage is available. There is a public bath on site, where guests will find free toiletries and hairdryers. A coin launderette, a shared kitchen and free-use internet PCs are offered on site. The on-site tourist information desk offers information in English, Chinese and Korean. Services offered at the desk include transport and meal tickets at a discount, currency exchange, bike hire at a charge, cultural activities at an additional charge, such as Japanese calligraphy lessons, and tour arrangements. Some cultural activities such as origami folding are offered free of charge.
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    • Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Nara, near Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha and Kofuku-ji Temple, Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park features free WiFi. Each unit is fitted with air conditioning, private bathroom and a kitchen including a microwave, fridge, stovetop and a toaster. If you would like to discover the area, hiking is possible in the surroundings. Todai-ji Temple is 2.4 km from the lodge, while Heijo Palace Ruins is 6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 39 km from Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park.
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    • Guesthouse Tamura
      Budget-friendly
      Renovating a Japanese-style private house with a 100-year history, Guesthouse Tamura offers an accommodation in Fushigazushi-cho, Nara. Kintetsu Nara Station is a 13-minute walk away, while Kasuga Taisha Shrine is a 20-minute stroll. Every room comes with a shared bathroom. Some rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) flooring and Japanese futon bedding. You will find luggage storage space at the property. Vegetarian meals can be offered upon request. Kofuku-ji is 8 minutes on foot from Guesthouse Tamura, while Nara Park is a 20-minute stroll away. Osaka Itami Airport is 38 km from the property.
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    • Yuzan Guesthouse
      Budget-friendly
      Conveniently located a 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station and a 8-minute walk from JR Nara Station, Yuzan Guest House Annex offers cosy accommodation with a shared kitchen. Free WiFi access is available throughout the property. Each room is simply decorated and comes with air conditioning and heating facilities. Guests can choose to stay in Japanese-style rooms featuring tatami (woven-straw) floor and futon bedding. Bathroom facilities are shared. At Guest House Yuzan Annex you will find a small garden, a terrace and a shared lounge. Free luggage storage is also available upon request. Guests can make a 10-minute stroll to the Nara Park, located in the city central area. Todaiji Temple and Heijo Palace are both a 10-minute drive away while Kansai International Airport can be reached with a 80-minute drive. Meals are not served on site.
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    • Guesthouse Naramachi
      Budget-friendly
      The 100-year old Guesthouse Naramachi offers simple Japanese-style accommodation just a 5-minute walk from JR Kyobate Train Station. The property is completely non-smoking. It offers massages, bicycle rental and free Wi-Fi throughout. The World Heritage registered Nara Park is a 10-minute walk away. Guests at Naramachi can choose a private room with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and Japanese futon beds. All rooms are air-conditioned, and bathrooms and toilets are shared. Bath towels, washclothes and Yukata robes can be rented. JR Nara Train Station is a 20-minute walk, and Kofuku-ji Temple is a pleasant 10-minute walk away through the traditional streets of Nara. Gangoji Temple and three public baths are available within a 5-minute walk. Various types of bicycles can be rented. A free-use kitchenette is provided, with a microwave, fridge and electric kettle. At time of booking, you must inform the hotel what time you plan to check in. If your check-in time changes, please update the hotel. Guests who require parking must inform the hotel at time of booking.
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    • Hotel ̗t
      Mid-range
      Hotel ̗t offers rooms in Nara near Nara Prefectural Art Museum and Nara National Museum. The 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The hotel features family rooms. All rooms in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. The units in Hotel ̗t are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a hairdryer. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Kofuku-ji Temple, Todai-ji Temple and Kasuga Taisha. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from Hotel ̗t.
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    • Kotonoyado Musashino
      Luxury
      Kotono yado Musashino offers accommodation in Nara, and is located a 11-minute drive from Nara Station on the Kintetsu Nara Line. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. Every room includes a flat-screen TV. You will find a kettle in the room. Rooms include a shared bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and a hair dryer. There is luggage storage space at the property. The ryokan also offers free use of bicycles. Kofuku-ji is 1.1 km from Musashino, while Kasuga Taisha is 300 metres from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Guest House En
      Budget-friendly
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    • Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring
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      Featuring natural hot spring baths on site, Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring is set in Nara, just a 3-minute walk from JR Nara Station. Free WiFi is available throughout the property, and private parking is available on site. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Kofuku-ji Temple is 15 minutes on foot. All rooms include a flat-screen TV and electric kettle in the room. Rooms have a private bathroom fitted with a bath or shower and bidet. For your comfort, you will find slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Extras include a fridge and toothbrushes. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. Free luggage storage service is provided. Todaiji Temple is 10 minutes by car from Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring, while Nara Park is a 20-minute stroll from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 37 km away.
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