Digital Archives of Japanese Cultural Heritages
Nara, Nara Japan
Originally the temple was built in the Asuka Period in order to enshrine Bishamonten; the guardian god of Buddhism. Then, it was officially founded in 731 in accordance with Empress Komyo's wish and was named Kairyuoji by her.
Its first head priest was Genbo, who came back from Tang China safely in spite of heavy storm, therefore it was known as the temple for Japanese envoys to Tang China to pray for their safe sailing.
Kairyuoji also played important roles as a Dojo(training hall for Buddhists),and as a Shakyo(Hand-copying of sutras) school. Shakyo became popular after Genbo took back sutras from Tang China.
Later on Kairyuoji fell into decline, but in the 13th century, Eison, the founder of Shingon Ritsu sect, revived it to the one of the highest status temples of Shingon Ritsu sect.
After disasters of Onin War in the 15th century, the temple declined again, but in the 20th century, after World War 2, then head priest decided to restore it and it still exists nowadays.
Even now it is known as the temple for safe trips and the birthplace of Shakyo in Japan.