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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

Closed

Admission

Chuguji Temple

Hours

Closed

Admission

Hotels around Nara

Top rated in Nara
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    • Hilo Hostel
      Mid-range
      Located less than 1 km from Nara Station, Hilo Hostel provides rooms with air conditioning in Nara. This 3-star hostel offers a shared kitchen, luggage storage space and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 18 km from Iwafune Shrine. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 21 km from the hostel, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 22 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 53 km from Hilo Hostel.
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    • Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park
      Budget-friendly
      Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park is situated in the Nara Park district of Nara, 3.3 km from Nara Station and 20 km from Iwafune Shrine. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the property. Each unit is fitted with air conditioning, private bathroom and a kitchen including a fridge, microwave, stovetop and a toaster. If you would like to discover the area, hiking is possible in the surroundings. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 23 km from the lodge, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 25 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 55 km from Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park.
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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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    • 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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    • Hotel Rokune
      Mid-range
      Located in Nara, Hotel Rokune provides 3-star accommodation with private balconies. Featuring a terrace, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a private bathroom. The property is non-smoking and is set 700 metres from Nara Station. All units are equipped with a fridge, microwave, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel every room is equipped with bed linen and towels. Hotel Rokune offers 3-star accommodation with a hot tub. Iwafune Shrine is 17 km from the accommodation, while Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 21 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 52 km from Hotel Rokune.
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    • SLOW HOUSE NARA
      Budget-friendly
      Featuring 2-star accommodation, SLOW HOUSE NARA is located in Nara, 1.3 km from Nara Station and 19 km from Iwafune Shrine. The 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. At the guest house, each room comes with a desk. At SLOW HOUSE NARA every room is equipped with bed linen and towels. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 22 km from the accommodation, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 23 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 54 km from SLOW HOUSE NARA.
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    • Hotel Naranohamori
      Mid-range
      Featuring 3-star accommodation, Hotel Naranohamori is situated in Nara, 19 km from Iwafune Shrine and 22 km from Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium. The 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is set 2 km from Nara Station. The units in the hotel are equipped with a flat-screen TV. At Hotel Naranohamori all rooms are fitted with bed linen and towels. Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 23 km from the accommodation, while Shijonawate City Museum of History and Folklore is 23 km away. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 54 km from Hotel Naranohamori.
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    • The Deer Park Inn
      Budget-friendly
      Located within Nara Park, The Deer Park Inn offers free Wi-Fi throughout the property and a chance to feed the many deer roaming around the park. Kintesunara Train Station is an 8-minute taxi ride away. Rooms feature air conditioning/heating and free toiletries. Bathrooms and toilets are shared with other guests. Meals are not served on the property, but guests can use the communal kitchen to prepare their own meals. Luggage storage is available for free and a coin launderette is available at a surcharge. Kasuga Taisha Shrine is located a 7-minute walk away, while the Todaiji Temple is located within a 15-minute walk from the property. Guests can also take a 13-minute walk to access the Nara National Museum or a 17-minute walk to see the beautiful Isuien Garden.
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    • Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi
      Budget-friendly
      Set in Nara, 2 km from Nara Station, Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi offers accommodation with a garden, private parking, a shared lounge and a restaurant. Offering a bar, the property is located within 20 km of Iwafune Shrine. The accommodation features a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. With a shared bathroom fitted with a shower and free toiletries, rooms at the guest house also feature free WiFi, while some rooms also feature a balcony. At Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi, the rooms are equipped with air conditioning and a safety deposit box. The accommodation offers a continental or American breakfast. The area is popular for cycling, and bike hire is available at Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi. Higashiosaka Hanazono Rugby Stadium is 23 km from the guest house, while Nippon Christ Kyodan Shijonawate Church is 24 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 55 km from Nara Guesthouse Kamunabi.
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    • Nara Hotel
      Luxury
      The century old Nara Hotel features classic Japanese architecture and elegant rooms with free WiFi. Located on Nara Parkfs beautiful hills, it overlooks the ancient capitalfs historic sites. The cosy rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows and warm colours. They come with an LCD TV with satellite channels, a minibar and a bathrobe. From Nara Hotel, the center of Nara Park is a 10-minute walk, Isuien Garden is a 15-minute walk and Todai-ji Temple is a 20-minute walk. Nara Station is a 10-minute bus ride away and connects to Kyoto in 45 minutes, while Kansai Airport is a 100-minute bus ride. Guests can explore the ancient city with Hotel Narafs rental bicycles. They can relax with a massage or browse in the hotelfs gift shop. French cuisine can be enjoyed in a mixture of classic Japanese and French d?cor at dining room Mikasa, while Restaurant Hanagiku serves seasonal Japanese dishes. Guests with a dinner-inclusive plan can choose either French or Japanese dinner. Freshly baked pastry and park views are offered at the Tea Lounge.
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