JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.68


Horyu Temple

Horyu Temple

Located in Ikoma City, Nara Prefecture, Horyu Temple is a Buddhist temple established by Prince Shotoku. The temple is believed to have been constructed in the year 607 and in 1993 it became Japan’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its status as the world’s oldest surviving wooden buildings. The temple spreads across its expansive approx. 187,000m² grounds, comprising a number of structures, including the South Gate, East Gate, Central Gate, Kondo Hall, clock tower, and passageways, Many of these ancient structures have been designated as national treasures. Most well-known is the Japan’s oldest five-story pagoda.

On either side of the Central Gate stand Japan’s oldest Kongorikishi statues (Guardian statues). The complex comprises a number of famous ancient buildings that are not only heritage structures, but also house a large amount of artwork, such as Buddhist statues, paintings and furnishings designated as national treasures. Horyu Temple is one of the most prominent old temples where tourists visit one after another without end.

In Nara City, away approx. 20km from Horyu Temple, the ASDF Nara Air Base is located. The base is also location of the ASDF Officer Candidate School, where ASDF personnel are trained in the qualities of an officer and to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge for fulfilling missions as a junior officer. As the only SDF facility located in Nara Prefecture, ASDF Nara Air Base is engaged actively in exchange and interaction with the local community.

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