Photographer's Note

Nara - Kofuku-ji pagoda and eastern hall

The upper part of the Kofuku-ji five-storey pagoda was already visible on my previous picture of the rickshaw. Here a better view together with the Eastern Golden Hall that features a large wooden statue of the Yakushi Buddha.

Kofuku-ji used to be the family temple of the Fujiwara, the most powerful family clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. The temple was established in the city of Nara at the same time as the capital in 710. At the height of Fujiwara power, the temple consisted of over 150 buildings.
Today a couple of buildings of great historic value remain including this five story pagoda (50 m.) which is Japan's second tallest pagoda.

Temples in Japan usually contain a main hall, a lecture hall, a pagoda, an entrance gate, a temple bell and a cemetery, usually in a large and often very beautiful garden or park.
Temples used to be monasteries, and some still function as such.
The pagoda, a structure that has evolved from the Indian stupa, usually comes with three (sanju no to) or five (goju no to) stories.

All information from: http://www.japan-guide.com

In the year 710, the first permanent Japanese capital was established in Nara, a city modelled after the Chinese capital. Large Buddhist monasteries were built in the new capital. The monasteries quickly gained such strong political influence that, in order to protect the position of the emperor and central government, the capital was moved to Nagaoka in 784, and finally to Kyoto in 794 where it would remain for over one thousand years.

Due to its past as the first permanent capital, Nara is one of the most interesting places to admire Japan’s cultural heritage.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6817 W: 24 N: 16082] (63010)
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