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DeityYakushi Nyorai
Location757 Akishino-chō, Nara, Nara Prefecture
FounderZenjū Daitoku

Akishino-dera (秋篠寺) is a Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan. Founded in the eighth century, its Kamakura-period Hondō is a National Treasure.


The Shoku Nihongi of 797 places the origins of the temple in Hōki 11 (780), while the Legends of Akishino-dera (秋篠寺縁起) of 1139 ascribes it to the vows of Emperor Kōnin and Emperor Kammu and names its founder as Zenjū Daitoku (善珠大徳), younger brother of Emperor Shōmu. The Records of the Kōfuku-ji Kanmu (輿福寺官務牒疏) of 1441 dates its foundation instead to 776. Excavated Nara-period tiles corroborate an eighth-century foundation date. Like other major temples of the period, Akishino-dera had two pagodas, as well as a Kondō. According to the Legends, a fire in June 1135 destroyed most of the temple. Two hundred and fifty-five ofuda, dating from 1327 to 1524, cast light on later years.[1][2]


The five by four bay National Treasure Hondō, with a raised platform, earthen floor, tiled hipped roof, and slightly narrower intercolumniation at each end, epitomises the Wayō style. Built on the site of the former lecture hall, it is a Kamakura-period rebuild in somewhat archaizing style. Inside, a raised altar platform is backed by an internal wall that spans three bays. The Hondō was dismantled for repair and reconstruction in 1899.[3][4][5]


Statues designated Important Cultural Properties include a Yakushi Triad, Gigeiten (伎芸天) (traditional identification), Taishakuten, and Jizō Bosatsu, in the Hondō; Daigensui Myōō (大元帥明王) in the Daigendō; Bonten, Kudatsu Bosatsu (traditional identification), and hollow dry-lacquer fragments, kept at Nara National Museum; Jizō Bosatsu, kept at Kyoto National Museum; and Jūichimen Kannon, kept at Tokyo National Museum.[6] The dry-lacquer heads of Gigeiten and Bonten, along with the heads of Kudatsu Bosatsu and Taishakuten, date from the Nara period and are joined to bodies of the Kamakura period; the hollow dry-lacquer fragments similarly date from the Nara period, while the images flanking the Yakushi, along with the two Jizō and Jūichimen Kannon, are from the Heian period, Daigensui Myōō is from the Kamakura period, and the Yakushi dates from the Muromachi period.[6] Other treasures include a set of five standing Godariki Bosatsu (五大力菩薩);[7] a waniguchi (鰐口) dating to Shōan 3 (1301) that has been designated a Prefectural Cultural Property; and a painting of Daigensui Myōō dating from the Nanboku-chō period and seven Muromachi-period fragments of ema with images of horses, designated Municipal Cultural Properties.[8][9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "秋篠寺調査概要" [Overview Survey of Akishinodera] (PDF) (in Japanese). Nabunken. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  2. ^ Soper, Alexander Coburn III (1942). The Evolution of Buddhist Architecture in Japan. Princeton University Press. p. 53.
  3. ^ Parent, Mary Neighbour (1983). The Roof in Japanese Buddhist Architecture. Weatherhill. p. 258.
  4. ^ 秋篠寺本堂 [Akishinodera Hondō] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  5. ^ 国宝 [National Treasures of Japan] (in Japanese and English). 4. The Mainichi Newspapers. 1966. p. 116.
  6. ^ a b 国指定文化財一覧 [National Cultural Properties] (in Japanese). Nara Prefecture. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  7. ^ "godairiki bosatsu". Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. Retrieved 24 November 2015.
  8. ^ "奈良県指定文化財一覧" [List of Prefectural Cultural Properties of Nara Prefecture] (PDF) (in Japanese). Nara Prefecture. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  9. ^ "奈良市指定文化財一覧" [List of Municipal Cultural Properties of Nara City] (in Japanese). Nara City. 19 March 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.

Coordinates: 34°42′13″N 135°46′34″E / 34.70361°N 135.77621013°E / 34.70361; 135.77621013