Gangoji Temple

 (World Heritage Site)

  the Shingon ritsu Sect
■ History ■

 ~ 1 ~

The Introduction of Buddhism in Japan
Buddhism,originally created taught by Gautama Siddhartha(also known as the Buddha)in India, is said to have been introduced into Japan by way of Mainland China and the Korean peninsula. The exact year is not entirely certain;according to the Chronicles of Japan (Nixon Shoki),the date was 552 A.D.(the 13th year of the Jinshin Era of the Kimmei Dynasty), and according to the Chronological Documents of Gangoji Temple,the date was 538 A.D.(the 3rd year of the Bogo Era of the Emperor Senka Dynasty). 

Feud Over Acceptance
The arrival of this new religion and the question of its acceptance resulted in a feud between two clans, the Soga and the Mononobe.The progressive Soga Clan advocated accepting the new faith while the conservative Mononobe Clan was strongly opposed to it,calling it heresy.
Buddhism,the,became a subject of great controversy as the chasm between these two clans became increasingly wider.

Soga-no Umako Victorious Over Mononobe Clan
In 587 A.D.(the 2nd year of the emperor Yomei Dynasty),Soga-no Umako,supported by Prince Shotoku(Umayado-no-o),who was both Soga-no Umako's nephew's son and son-in-law,led an army against the Mononobes.Soga-no Umako's army was victorious and he expelled Moriya,the head of the Mononobe Clam.Getting rid of the leader of the anti-Buddhist factions paved he way for the widespread acceptance of Buddhism in Japan.

The Construction of Asuka temple(later named Gangoji Temple)
In 588 A.D.,following the enthronement ceremony for Emperor Sushun,Umako's nephew,the Emperor authorized construction of Japan's first Buddhist temple at Auka in Takaichi Country,Nara.It was named Hokoji Temple,but was later called Auka Temple by local residents because of its locality.This was the beginning of the temple which was later to be called Gangoji.The King of Peaches in Korea was instrumental in the temple's construction,dispashing priests,carpenters and mechacics specialized in metal-filing,tile manufacturing,Buddhist picture painting,and dedication of the sacred bones.the tiles used in the construction of the Temple's roof were made by specialized in metal-filing,tile manufacturing, Buggiest picture painting,and dedication of the sacred bones.The tiles used in the construction of the Temple's roof were made by specialists called tile doctors",and they were the first of their kind to be manufactured in Japan.Approximately one thousand of these tiles were later transported and used in roofing the main hall and the Zen-Shitsu of Gangoji Temple when it was moved to its present site in Nara.The special method of roofing the temple using round tiles was called Gyougi-buki,and is still well known even today.  next



Gokurakudo
(mandala main hall)

National Treasure
Zen-shitsu
(contemplation Hall)

National Treasure

The roofing tiles of Gokurakudo (right)
and Zen-Shitsu (left)
are the oldest in Japan.