Brief History of Ancient Japan
Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji Area
There are 48 Buddhist monuments in the Horyuji area, in the Nara Prefecture. Masterpieces of wood architecture, they are the oldest of their type in Japan. Eleven of them were constructed before or during the 8th century, and marked an important date in the history of art-illustrating the adaptation of Chinese Buddhist architecture and layouts to Japanese culture, as well as in the history of religion-since their construction coincides with the introduction of Buddhism to Japan.
Built by Shotoku Taishi, a leader of Japanese government, in 607 A.D., the Horyuji temple is the oldest wooden building in the world. It is difficult to save the temple because the buildings were made of wood and is easy to rot down.
Japanese is one of the few races who have loved wood especially coniferous white ones as well as the people of Northern Europe have. So they have had good techniques to make use of wood. Horyuji were the results of their perseverance.