The Horyuji Temple is one of the oldest wooden buildings
in the world and is significant for coinciding with the
introduction of Buddhism to Japan. It is part of the “Seven
Great Temples of Nara” and its founder is Prince
Shotoku, “Father of Japanese Buddhism”. It is officially
recognized on the World Heritage List of UNESCO as the
Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji Area and was
inscribed in 1993.
Recognized for being a wooden masterpiece, the architecture of the temples holds Chinese Buddhist influence and is a surviving layout of early Japanese religion. Additionally, Horyuji Temple greatly influenced other religious structures in Japan. Originally built in 607 by Prince Shotoku with the help of Empress Suiko, a fire destroyed the original building in 670. The exact date of reconstruction is still unknown, but it occurred from late 7th century to early 8th century, making the temples and its surrounding buildings one of the oldest wooden structures in the world.
Not only are the temple and its surrounding structures notable for its history of religion, but they also exemplify a history of art using the Chinese bay system. Its method of construction resulted in a masterpiece of wooden architecture in both overall design and decoration. The Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji Area are cultural treasure troves due to its illustration of Japanese art and early Buddhist influences. Ultimately, Horyuji is a testament to the growth of Buddhism in Japan and is an important role in the early development of Japanese culture.