Kofuku-ji Temple, Nara

One of the Seven Great Temples of Nara, which are mentioned in the New Herbs chapter of The Tale of Genji, Kofukuji was the clan temple of the powerful Fujiwara clan and one of the head temples of the Hosso sect.

Full moon at Kofukuji temple

Full moon at Kofukuji Temple.

Kofukuji temple Tokondo

Kofukuji Temple's Tokondo.

Kofukuji temple pagoda

The five-tier pagoda at Kofukuji Temple.

The Eastern Golden Hall houses an image of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing. It was installed in 726 by Emperor Shomu to pray for the recovery of the ailing Empress Gensho. The current sculpture was restored in 1415.

Kofukuji Yakushi Nyorai

Yakushi Nyorai.

Within the Kofukuji temple complex lies the octagonal Nan'endo hall, the ninth temple in the Saigoku Kannon pilgrimage.

Sarusawa Pond in Nara

Sarusawa Pond behind Kofukuji Temple.

As recounted in The Tale of the Heike, the militant monks of Kofukuji sided with Prince Takakura against the Taira. In the year 1180, clan chieftan Taira Kiyomori sent an emissary to negotiate with the monks, who promptly seized 60 of his men, decapitated them, and hung their heads in rows beside Sarusawa pond. This outrage lead directly to the burning of Nara.

Nanendo Hall at Kofukuji Temple

Kofukuji Temple's Nanendo Hall at sunset.

The temple's treasures include an 8th-century figure of Ashura, one of the Eight Buddhist Guardian Deities (Hachi Bushu).

Kofukuji Ashura