UNESCO World Heritage
Gango-ji Temple – East Gate, Main Hall
In the heart of Naramachi is Gangoji Temple, Japan’s oldest Buddhist temple, first built in Asuka named as Hoko-ji (Asuka-dera) temple. It was originally built for praying to the glory of the Soga family, but it became a state-sponsored temple when it was moved to the ancient capital of Heijyo-kyo around 718 AD. Fires during the 15th and 19th centuries destroyed many of the original structures and the need for more residential space gradually diminished the temple’s influence and size.
Gango-ji Temple Entrance & East Gate(Higashimon)
It was recorded that the Todai-ji temple’s Nishi-minami-in Yotsuashi Gate was moved during the Ouei period and is the Gangoji Gokuraku-bo Main Gate. It’s a wonderful Kamakura Era style gate. The priests’ living quarters in the east room of the south floor of Gangoji was reconstructed into Gokuraku-do Hall and the Zen Room.
Gango-ji Gokuraku-do (Mandara-do) 元興寺極楽堂(曼荼羅堂)
Gokuraku-bo was used as a Zen room by the Buddhist priests Chiko and Raiko, who died in the Nara Era and were thought to return to the Buddha Pure Land. It was also called as Ojo Gokuraku-in, or Gokuraku-do Hall, and was used for the 100-day prayer to Buddha. It was here that Priest Chiko achieved enlightenment with the Jodo Mandala, so it is also called Mandala Hall.
It’s a famous traditional temple in Nanto known as the sacred place where the Jodo sect was born.
Old auditorium cornerstone & Exhibition Hall
In the Shuzoko(Exhibition Hall), you can see a Five storied miniature pagoda, and many wooden sculptures. Unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos in the hall.
The Foot Print Lord Buddha (Bussokuishi)
The foot stone was worshipped in ancient India’s Buddhist areas as a monument to the living Lord himself in an era that predated Buddha statues.
It was said that the worshippers would clasp the foot monument with both hands and touch their foreheads to the stone to show respect. It is still believed that just touching the stone conferred great karma upon the worshipper. In Japan, belief in Buddhism and its precepts were in a recovery period, just as it is now. The Sri Lanka foot stone symbolized the footprint on the holy crest and was known for its big, open umbrella. A service was held to honor the deep ties of friendship between this temple and Sri Lanka. The building process is cut into the side of the Buddha foot stone.