Nearby Attractions

Gangô-ji Temple

Gangō-ji Temple

Gangō-ji was originally established as Asuka-dera Temple by the powerful minister Soga no Umako, and was relocated to its current site in accordance with the transfer of the Imperial capital to Heijokyo. The temple was developed as one of the Seven Great Temples of Nanto (the southern capital of Nara). The major buildings of Gangō-ji were constructed on a larger scale than those of Kōfuku-ji Temple or Yakushi-ji Temple. In the late Heian period, one of the residential rooms of the priests was converted into a hall for practicing nenbutsu (the contemplation of Amida Buddha and recitation of Amida's name) and given the name Gokurakubō. During the Kamakura period, when the priests’ residence was renovated as a Main Hall (J., Hondō) and Meditation Hall (J., Zenshitsu), the Gokurakubō became an independent monastery from Gangō-ji Temple and attracted people from far and wide to come and practice their faith. In the early modern period, private homes were densely built on the temple grounds so the site was divided into three separate temples: Kannondō; Shoindō; and Gokurakubō.

The Main Hall with its graceful Nara-period pantiled roof and the Meditation Hall of today’s Gangō-ji (originally Gokurakubō) have been designated as National Treasures, and the temple is part of the World Heritage Site “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.” In the storehouse of the temple, a miniature five-storied pagoda from the Nara period and various documents demonstrating the medieval Japanese people’s devotion are exhibited.

Tōdai-ji TempleShōsō-inKōfuku-ji TempleKasuga ShrineShinyakushi-ji Temple
Byakugō-ji TempleGangō-ji TempleHimuro ShrineNara Palace SiteMt. WakakusaNara Park