Tachibanadera Temple

Japan Temples: Tachibanadera Temple

Tachibanadera Temple 橘寺

Tachibanadera Temple, located in the Asuka district of Nara Prefecture, is believed to be the birthplace of Prince Shotoku Taishi in 572.

Tachibanadera Temple, Nara, Japan.
West Gate, Tachibanadera Temple, Asuka, Nara Prefecture
Tachibanadera Temple, Nara, Japan.
Main Hall (Taishi-den), with Kurokoma Statue, Tachibanadera Temple, Asuka, Nara Prefecture

History of Tachibanadera Temple

Tachibanadera Temple was originally founded during the Asuka Period in 606, when Buddhism was still in its infancy in Japan. Tachibanadera is one of the seven temples said to have been erected by Shotoku Taishi during his lifetime: Chuguji Temple, Hokiji Temple, Horyuji Temple, Katsuragidera Temple, Koryuji Temple in Kyoto, Shitennoji Temple in Osaka, and Tachibanadera Temple.

Originally a palace built for the Emperor Kinmei, the Tachibana Palace was later converted into a temple by Prince Shotoku. The name "Tachibana" (a type of mandarin orange) supposedly comes from a tree brought back from China and planted in the palace grounds by Tajima-no-mori, an imperial official sent overseas to look for herbs and plants that would bestow immortality.

The buildings still standing today at Tachibanadera date from the late Edo Period of Japanese history in 1864, though the Shinso is a foundation stone of a five storied pagoda that once stood at the temple during the Asuka era.

The Nimenseki is an unusual ancient stone monument depicting the dual sides of human nature: good and evil and also predates the wooden temple buildings.

Tachibanadera Temple, Nara, Japan.
Bell Tower, Tachibanadera Temple, Nara Prefecture
Tachibanadera Temple, Nara, Japan.
Tachibanadera Temple, Nara Prefecture

Tachibanadera Temple Buildings

Tachibanadera Temple is noted for its principal image of Prince Shotoku, aged 35, in the Tashi-den (Main Hall). it is believed to be the oldest remaining image of the prince.

Nearby is a modern bronze statue of Shotoku Taishi's favorite horse, named Kurokoma. The horse was supposedly blessed with legendary powers as it transported the prince on his proselytizing missions, including being able to fly.

The Kannon-do holds an image of a Six-handed Nyoirin Kanzeon dating from the Heian Period.

More of the temple's treasures are on display in the concrete Shoso-den or Treasure House which is opposite the Ojoin, which has a wooden ceiling painted with over 260 pictures of various flowers.

The temple also include a pond, temple bell and scripture hall (Kyo-do) where the temple's old manuscripts are stored.

Tachibanadera Temple, Nara, Japan.
Tachibanadera Temple, Nara Prefecture

Takaichi-gun, Asuka-mura, Tachibana 532
Nara Prefecture
Tel: 0744 54 2026
Hours: 9am-4.30pm

Admission: 350 yen for adults.

Access - how to get to Tachibanadera

There are bicycle rental outlets at Kashiharajingu-mae, Okadera and Asuka stations all on the Kintetsu Line from Yamato-Saidaiji Station and Kintetsu Nara Station. These stations can also be reached from Abenobashi Station in Osaka.

Tachibanadera is roughly a 20-minute cycle from Kashiharajingu-mae or a 20-minute cycle from Asuka Station. There are buses from Asuka Station; get off at the Okahashimoto stop.

Tachibanadera is fairly close to the Ishibutai burial mound, Okadera Temple, Asukadera Temple and is across the road from the ruins of Kawaharadera Temple (Gufukuji Temple).

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