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Coordinates: 34°41′00″N 135°49′52″E / 34.68325°N 135.83117°E / 34.68325; 135.83117
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Five-story pagoda and Tōkondō at Kōfuku-ji
DeityShaka Nyorai (Śākyamuni)
Location48 Noboriōji-chō, Nara, Nara Prefecture
Geographic coordinates34°41′00″N 135°49′52″E / 34.68325°N 135.83117°E / 34.68325; 135.83117
FounderEmperor Tenji

Kōfuku-ji (興福寺, Kōfuku-ji) is a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples in the city of Nara, Japan. The temple is the national headquarters of the Hossō school.


Kōfuku-ji has its origin as a temple that was established in 669 by Kagami-no-Ōkimi (鏡大君), the wife of Fujiwara no Kamatari, wishing for her husband's recovery from illness. Its original site was in Yamashina, Yamashiro Province (present-day Kyoto). In 672, the temple was moved to Fujiwara-kyō, the first planned Japanese capital to copy the orthogonal grid pattern of Chang'an. In 710, the temple was dismantled for the second time and moved to its present location, on the east side of the newly constructed capital, Heijō-kyō, today's Nara.

Kōfuku-ji was the Fujiwara's tutelary temple, and enjoyed prosperity for as long as the family did. The temple was not only an important center for the Buddhist religion, but also retained influence over the imperial government, and even by "aggressive means" in some cases.[1] When many of the Nanto Shichi Daiji, such as Tōdai-ji, declined after the move of capital to Heian-kyō (Kyoto), Kōfuku-ji kept its significance because of its connection to the Fujiwara.

The temple was damaged and destroyed by civil wars and fires many times,[2] and was rebuilt as many times as well, although finally some of the important buildings, such as one of the three golden halls, the Nandaimon, Chūmon and the corridor were never reconstructed and are missing today. The rebuilding of the Central Golden Hall was completed in 2018.

Rokusō-an (六窓庵, Six Window Hut) was a chashitsu formerly located at the temple and considered one of the San-meiseki (三名席, Three Famous Tearooms).[3] It was relocated due its deteriorated state and is now in the gardens of the Tokyo National Museum.[4][5]

Architectures and treasures[edit]

Nan'endō is the No.9 of Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage
Chū-kondō (Central Golden Hall)
Tō-kondō (East Golden Hall)
Asura (Buddhism)

The following are some of the temple's buildings and treasures of note.


  • East Golden Hall (東金堂, Tō-kondō), 1425, one of the former three golden halls (National Treasure)[6]
  • Central Golden Hall (中金堂, Chū-kondō), 2018, reconstructed, the former temporary Central Golden Hall building (仮金堂) now serves as the temporary Lecture Hall (仮講堂)
  • Five-storied pagoda (五重塔, Gojū-no-tō), 1426 (National Treasure)[7]
  • Three-storied pagoda (三重塔, Sanjū-no-tō), 1185(National Treasure)[8]
  • North Octagonal Hall (北円堂, Hoku'endō), 1210 (National Treasure)[9]
  • South Octagonal Hall (南円堂, Nan'endō), 1741, Site No.9 of Saigoku 33 Pilgrimage (Important Cultural Property)[10]
  • Bath House (大湯屋, Ōyūya), 1394–1427 (Important Cultural Property)[11]



Showing the original layout of the temple, with the later three-storied pagoda, Nan'en-dō, and Ōyūya superimposed. Of the buildings marked, only these three together with the five-storied pagoda, Tōkon-dō and Hoku'en-dō remain.[12]


See also[edit]

Sculptures formerly from Kōfuku-ji[edit]


  1. ^ John Bowring, pp.218–219
  2. ^ Turnbull, Stephen (1998). The Samurai Sourcebook. Cassell & Co. p. 200. ISBN 1-85409-523-4.
  3. ^ Chado the Way of Tea: A Japanese Tea Master's Almanac, p. 163, at Google Books
  4. ^ "Rokusoan Teahouse (Rokusoan) – the Magic of Japanese Masterpieces | NHK WORLD-JAPAN on Demand".
  5. ^ "六窓庵とは".
  6. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Three-storied Pagoda National Treasure - KOHFUKUJI Temple". Retrieved 9 September 2023.
  9. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Database of National Cultural Properties". Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 14 May 2011.
  12. ^ Suzuki, Kakichi (1980). Early Buddhist Architecture in Japan. Kodansha. p. 86. ISBN 0-87011-386-0.
  13. ^ "Miroku, the Bodhisattva of the Future – Works – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston". 2021-05-30. Archived from the original on 2021-05-30. Retrieved 2024-02-17.


External links[edit]