Koryu-ji Temple

Description: 

Koryuji is the temple of a sect of Shingon Buddhism, one of major Japanese Buddhism schools. Koryuji Temple was built by Hata no Kawakatsu- head of the Hata clan. He was a naturalized Japanese clan from the old Korea and was known to be very close with Prince Shotoku. Built in 603, the Temple is considered as the oldest temple in Kyoto. It is said that Hata no Kawakatsu constructed the Temple to enshrine sacred Buddha statues given by Prince Shotoku. There is also a legend that the fires in 818 and 1150 burnt down all the Temple except these statues. It was rebuilt several times after these fires with Kodo in 1165 and Keiguin in 1251.

The Temple occupied a large area with the open space of gardens and lakes. There are scattered trees around the yard which will turn red brilliantly in autumn. Koryuji has a grandiose gate covered by a large and tall roof with two guard statues in two sides. Contemplating the architecture of the Temple, you will be impressed by the ancientry of each details from a wood girder, a pattern in the door or a small sophisticated statue on the roof. Everything has a grey color of time. Koryuji has 3 main buildings namely Lecture Hall (Kodo), Reihoukan Museum and Keikyuin Hondo.

lecturehall_source_tale_of_genji_koryuji

Lecture Hall

Source: Tale of Genji

 

Lecture Hall

Lecture Hall is the oldest building of the Temple dating in 12th century with a lot of vermilion pillars.  This building is the place for the priests to read the Buddhist scriptures and also enshrines many statues that designated by the national government as an Important Cultural Property such as: Amida-Nyorai Buddha, Jizo-Bosatsu, Dainichi-Nyorai Buddha and Kokuzo-Bosatsu.

Reihoukan museum (Treasure Hall)

Like the name of this building, most of art works are in Reihoukan museum with many statues like Fukuukensaku Kannon Ritsuzo, Senju Kannonryuzo, Juni Shinshoryuzo enshrined here. Hokan-Miroku is one of the most special statues in the Museum. In a trip to Kyoto, Karl Jaspers- a Germen philosopher highly praised its postune. Looking at the face of 123-centimeters-tall representation of Buddha, you can feel a calm and peaceful expression from a sweet smile which has a power to sanctifies everyone's heart. It is believed that the Statue remains after the fire thanks to this strength.

hokanmiroku_source_tale_of_genji_koryuji

Hokan-Miroku statue

Source: Tale of Genji

 

Another famous statue is Miroku Bosatsu- the Buddha of the future that will come down to the Earth and replace the Buddha to save life after his death. It was a present from Prince Shotoku with Korean style in wooden carving. The statue was one of the very first items to be registered as a National Treasure during the Meiji period. Besides, there are many other antiques including Buddhist images, paintings and ancient documents conserved in this Museum.

Keikyuin Hondo

Prince Shotoku is enshrined in Keikyuin Hondo with octagonal architecture like Ryuji Yumedono built in 739. That is why the building is considered as an important treasure of this period.

Every year in October 12th, Ushi-matsuri, one of the three biggest festival in Kyoto is held in Koryuji temple. This is a Buddhist festival with the Matarajin deity riding on a black ox and reading prayers. Hitakisai is also a famous festival in Autumn. They will burn straw from harvested rice plants and pray for an abundant crop of this year.

Open time: 

Reihoukan Museum and Lecture Hall: from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. From December to February: From 9:00 am to 04:30 pm .

Keiguin Hondo:  open every Sunday or National Holidays
 

Admission: 

Reihoukan Museum: 700 yen

High School Students: 500 yen

Junior High School Students and under: 400 yen

Keiguin Hondo: 200 yen

How to access: 

Take a 2-minute walk from Keifuku Railway Uzumasa-Koryuji Station or  City Bus Stop Uzumasa Koryuji-mae