興福寺   Click to listen highlighted text! 興福寺


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Kōfuku-ji is a Buddhist temple located in Nara, Japan. It was established in 669 by the powerful Fujiwara clan and was dedicated to the prosperity and happiness of the nation. The temple was originally located in Kyoto but was moved to Nara in 710 when the capital was moved there. Kōfuku-ji is one of the most important temples in Japan and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The temple was founded by Emperor Tenmu’s wife, Empress Jitō, and her younger brother, Prince Naka-no-Ōe. It was initially named Yamashina-dera and was built to honor the memory of Prince Shōtoku, a patron of Buddhism. The temple’s name was later changed to Kōfuku-ji, which means “temple for the happiness of all people.”

Kōfuku-ji became the head temple of the Hossō school of Buddhism, one of the six schools of Japanese Buddhism. It was also the main temple of the powerful Fujiwara clan, who used their influence to expand the temple’s power and wealth. The temple was rebuilt several times throughout its history, and the current structures date from the Edo period (1603-1868).

The temple’s main hall, the Central Golden Hall (Chū-kondō), is one of the largest wooden buildings in Japan. It houses a statue of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of healing, and is surrounded by four smaller halls. The Eastern Golden Hall (Tō-kondō) houses a statue of Amitabha Buddha, while the Northern and Southern Octagonal Halls (Hoku-ōden and Nan-ōden) contain statues of other Buddhist deities.

Kōfuku-ji is also known for its many treasures, including Buddhist statues, paintings, and other works of art. The temple’s museum, located on the grounds, contains many of these treasures and is open to the public. In addition, the temple’s pagoda, the Five-storied Pagoda (Gojū-no-tō), is one of the most famous landmarks in Nara and is a symbol of the city.

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