Konbu-in Temple (興福院)

Konbu-in Temple is a Jodo (Pure Land) sect nunnery temple located in Horen-cho, Nara City, Nara prefecture.
Its sango (prefix of a Buddhist temple) is Horen-san
Its honzon (principal image) is Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata), and its Kaiki (patron of a temple in its founding)is said to be WAKE no Kiyomaro or FUJIWARA no Momokawa.

Origin and History

There are divided opinions over the founding of Konbu-in Temple, and its history before the medieval times is not known in details.

Its temple history says that it was originally called Kobun-in, which was established by WAKE no Kiyomaro around the Tenpyo era as an academic facility. On the other hand, some historical materials such as "Shoji Engi Shu" (The book describing the history of every temple) says that it was originally a nunnery Konbuni-in established by FUJIWARA no Momokawa. Additionally, its principal image, the statue of Amida Sanzon, was a work in the Nara period, and this suggests that the foundation of the temple goes back to the Nara period.

The temple was originally located in the vicinity of Konbuin-mura Village in Soekami Country, Yamato Province (near present Kintetsu Amagatsuji Station). During the reign of Ietsuna TOKUGAWA (1665), it was moved to the present site Horen-cho, and restored as a nunnery temple. The second priestess was the widow of Hidenaga TOYOTOMI, former Lord of Yamato Koriyama Castle. It enshrines ihai (mortuary tablets) of shoguns from the third Shogun Iemitsu TOKUGAWA to the 14th Shogun Iemochi TOKUGAWA.

Complex of the temple

The hondo (main hall) is located at the back of the chumon (inner gate) which is situated past the garden through the Daimon-gate (the great outer gate). Kyakuden (guest hall) is connected with the main hall via the connecting corridor.

Kyakuden (guest hall) - Important Cultural Property
Built around Kanei era in the Edo Period, the hall is an irimoya-zukuri construction (a hip-and-gable roof construction, or a building with this roof construction) with a tiled roof. It has an entrance with a roof covered with bark of Japanese cypress.

Daimon gate (the great outer gate) - Cultural Property designated by Nara Prefecture
(built around Kanei era)

Main hall - Cultural Property designated by Nara Prefecture
(built 1642)

Important Cultural Properties

Kyakuden (the entrance is classified as Tsuketari [undesignated attached architecture])
Dry-lacquered statue of Amida Sanzon (Amida Triad) - the principal image of the temple
Mokushin kanshitsu-zukuri method (wood-core dry lacquer)
It is a work made in the Nara Period. However, its surface lacquered leaf shows that it was repaired in the Edo Period. Its attendant statues, Kannon Bosatsu and Seji Bosatsu are half lotus positioned.

31 items of embroidery fukusa (small silk wrapper) - donated by Zuishunin, a concubine of Tsunayoshi TOKUGAWA
This fukusa is a 50 cm square hanging wrapper used in Obon festival (a Festival of the Dead or Buddhist All Souls' Day).

Colored painting on silk: Amida Nijugo Bosatsu Raigozu (Descent of Amida and Twenty-Five Attendants)
Kobaryaku Ruijusho (a transcription of the oldest Japanese poetry collection "Manyoshu," compiled in the Kamakura period)

Other cultural property

Sitting statue of Shaka Nyorai - made of wood in the Edo period (1690)


881 Horen-cho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture 630-8113


9 minutes by Nara Kotsu Bus for 'Jieitai-mae' or 'Saidai-ji' via Hokke-ji Temple from Nara Station (Kintetsu Nara Line)
5-minute walk from the bus stop 'Sasebo shogakko-mae.'

[Original Japanese]