The Horyu-ji temple is one of the most important Buddhist sites in Japan, as it was founded by Prince Shotoku, who is said to have brought the religion to the country. It dates back to the year 607 and parts of the Horyu-ji temple are reputed to be the oldest wooden structures anywhere in the world that survive to this day.
There are around 45 buildings to explore, ranging from the main hall, elegant five-storey pagoda and central gate on the western side to the octagonal Yumedono, which translates as Hall of Visions and can be found to the east.
When Horyu-ji was inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1993, it was the first location in Japan to receive the honour. As well as preserving the actual buildings, another hall was added in 1998 with the specific purpose of displaying the temple's art collection. Time spent perusing these exhibits is an integral part of a trip to Horyu-ji.