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Chugu-ji Temple中宮寺


This Buddhist temple is affiliated with Prince Shotoku and is also the oldest Buddhist convent in Japan. Today, the temple adjoins the Horyuji’s Eastern Precinct, but it is said to have originally been built opposite the Horyuji to the west with Prince Shotoku’s Ikaruganomiya palace in between. Particularly worthy of seeing is the temple’s wooden statue depicting a bodhisattva in the half-lotus position. One of only a very few such statues making use of the so-called “archaic smile,” some count it alongside the Sphinx and the Mona Lisa as one of the three great smiling artworks of the world. A replica of the Tenjukoku Shucho Mandala, the oldest work of embroidery art in Japan and a designated National Treasure, is enshrined in the main temple building.


Nara Ikoma-gun Ikarugacho Horyuji Kita 1-1-2 (Ikaruga / IkomaArea)

phone 0745752106

[10/1-3/20] 9:00-16:00
[3/21-9:30] 9:00-16:30
* Reception is 15 minutes the end

Review of Chuguji Temple

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
Reviewed:2018/09/07 You can afford to miss thhis one
Y600 admission to view three beautiful old bhuddas and an embroidery, in a modern concrete monstrosity of a temple over a green foul smelling pond. Little else to redeem it!
Reviewed:2016/07/05 Beautiful and can be included in Horyuji ticket
This temple is within the large Horyu-ji complex and definitely worth a visit. This small temple has one of the most beautiful grouping of statues we saw in Japan. It was also a very tranquil place...
Reviewed:2016/04/21 中宮寺 [斑鳩] Chūgūji (Ikaruga)
Chūgūji contains a fascinating statue of a sitting bodhisattva with one leg crossed, a finger to the cheek, and lips playing a mysterious smile. The statue, a national treasure, is made from black...

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Nara Ikoma-gun Ikarugacho Horyuji Kita 1-1-2 [ map ]
Ikaruga / IkomaArea
[10/1-3/20] 9:00-16:00
[3/21-9:30] 9:00-16:30
* Reception is 15 minutes the end
open everyday
[Admission fee]Adults600yen, Junior High School Students450yen, Elementary School Students300yen

Information Sources:  NAVITIME JAPAN


          There is no Station nearby. There is no Bus Stop nearby. There is no Parking nearby. There is no IC nearby.
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          Nara Main Areas


          With a reputation almost as stellar as that of Kyoto, Nara is a must-visit for those searching for the remains of “traditional Japan.” The largely green Nara city holds the majority of the prefecture's treasures, such as the iconic Todai-ji Temple, in which a 15-meter tall Great Buddha sits, and Nara Park, where deer flock to befriend passersby. While mountains are by no means hard to come by in this area, for hiking with a reward, head to the Kii Mountains' Yoshino district in spring, when the hillsides put on an impressive display of white and pink cherry blossoms.

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