Story of Kairyuoji Temple
Kairyuoji Temple was originally established in the Asuka period (552–645) to enshrine Bishamonten, a protective Buddhist deity. Fujiwara no Fuhito (659–720), a powerful member of the imperial court, built a residence here that encompassed the temple compound. In 731, his daughter, Empress Komyo (701–760), renamed the temple Kairyuoji, literally “Sea Dragon King Temple.”
An early temple narrative relates that the eighth-century Buddhist priest Genbo had an important part in shaping Kairyuoji’s history. Genbo traveled to Tang Dynasty China to study and acquire Buddhist sutra scrolls. On his return trip, his small fleet of ships sailed into a fierce storm. Genbo continuously chanted sutras, including the Sea Dragon King sutra, to see his ship to safety. He returned to Kairyuoji with his precious cargo of 5,000 sutra scrolls, became head priest, and established Japan’s first sutra-copying center. The temple was named after the Sea Dragon King sutra.
Since then, Kairyuoji has survived various periods of decline, sustaining damage during the Onin War (1467–1477), the Keicho Earthquake (1614), and the anti-Buddhist movement of the 1870s. Kairyuoji was most recently revived after World War II. Today, it houses a number of Important Cultural Properties, including the Statue of Eleven-Headed Kannon and the Five-Story Pagoda. Many visitors pray for safety as they cross the seas on their travels or to study abroad.
- 897 Hokkeji-cho , Nara 630-8001 , Japan
- Tel: 0742-33-5765
- Visiting Information
Hours: 9:00 a.m. ~ 4:30 p.m.
* During Special Public Display: 9:00 a.m. ~ 5:00 p.m.
* August 12 ~ August 17, December 24 ~ December 31, displays are closed due to temple events.
- General Entrance Fee:
Adults 500 yen
Junior High School and High School Students 200 yen
Elementary School Students 100 yen
- Special Public Display:
- Adults 600 yen Junior High School and High School Students 300 yen Elementary School Students 100 yen
- Coming on Foot
Approximately a 15-minute walk from Kintetsu Omiya Station.
- Coming by Train or Bus
- From Kintetsu Nara Station
From Bus Stop 13, take the bus for “Yamato Saidaiji sta - Koku-Jietai” and get off at “Hokkeji”. It is a short walk from there.
- From JR Nara Station
From the west exit and Bus Stop 15, take the bus for “Yamato Saidaiji sta - Koku-Jietai” and get off at “Hokkeji”. It is a short walk from there.
- From Kintetsu Yamato-Saidaiji Station
From the bus terminal on the north side, take the bus for “JR Nara sta” and get off at “Hokkeji”. It is a short walk from there.
- Coming by Car
- From the Keinawa Expressway Kizu Interchange (Kizu IC)
Head south on Nat. Hwy 24, turn right at the “Hokkeji-higashi” intersection, and continue west (approximately 10 minutes).
- From the Daini Hanna Road Horai Interchange (Horai IC)
Head east on the Hanna Road, turn left at the “Nara City Hall E.” intersection, and head north (approximately 12 minutes).
- From the Nishi Meisan Expressway Koriyama Interchange (Koriyama IC)
Head north on Nat. Hwy 24. At the “Komogawabashi-minamizume” intersection turn left and head north (approximately 25 minutes).