Obara-dera Temple (粟原寺)

Obara-dera was a temple once located in Obara, Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture. It was founded in the late seventh century. Although the temple was abolished and no buildings remain to the present day, the site has been designated as a National Historical Landmark (as of April 8th, 1927).


Tenman-jinja Shrine is located on the southern tip of the village of Obara, in the hills halfway down the Ossaka-kaido Road (National Route 166) which connects Ouda and Sakurai through the Meyori-toge Pass. The temple was located on a hill behind the shrine.



Since no excavations or research have been conducted, details such as the scale and the layout of the temple are unknown.

Today, the central base and foundation stone can be recognised at the site of which the pagoda used to be, and further foundation stones are arranged on the eastern side, which is one step lower. The foundation stones on the eastern side were not orginally placed there; they are thought to have been moved from the site of a thirteen-storied stone pagoda which stands to the West. Since the area where the stone pagoda stands is named 'Kondo', and some of the foundation stones can still be recognised, a kon-do (golden hall) is thought to have been located there.


The history of the temple is clearly stated in the inscription on the "Tanzan-jinja Shrine Kokuho" (a national treasure) owned by Tanzan-jinja Shrine.
The fukubachi (inverted bowl-shaped section on top of a pagoda), an important material for learning about ancient golden letters, is designated as a National Treasure, and the site of the temple is also designated as a Historical Landmark

According to the inscription, it was NAKATOMI no Oshima's wish that the temple be established for Prince Kusakabe. After Oshima died, Hime no Ason Nukata set to work and in 694 a kon-do and a Joroku Shaka zo (4.85 metre-high statue of Shakyamuni) were built. 22 years later in 715, it was recorded that the three-storied pagoda had been completed.

Although Oshima's name was mentioned in literature, Hime no Ason Nukata was not. Some also claim the theory that Hime no Ason Nukata was the same person as Nukata no Okimi, the poet responsible for Manyoshu (Japan's oldest poetry anthology). =>For more information, refer to the article about Nukata no Okimi.

[Original Japanese]