Horyuji Temple in Nara Prefecture is one of the many Japanese landmarks that suffered a severe lack of tourists during the pandemic. Select Buddhist temples in Japan charge a small entrance fee to enter the temple grounds, and without that vital revenue Horyuji has had trouble keeping up with maintenance costs.
Along with taking part in creative Adult School Field Trips, on June 15, the temple also launched a crowdfunding campaign on Japanese website Readyfor, with a goal of 20 million yen by July 25. However, much to the temple’s surprise, they surpassed five times that goal in just eight days when they raised a staggering 100 million yen. As of June 27, the donation pool is currently over 118 million.
▼ All for the sake of this lovely building.
So, what makes Horyuji Temple such a big deal? In 1993, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was originally built in the year 607, and while parts of the temple have been rebuilt due to age and disasters, the main hall reportedly remains the oldest wooden building in the world. Besides that, many people visit the temple to see its impressive five-story pagoda, historic Buddhist statues, and more.
Naturally, temple staff are floored by the outpouring of financial support and made an update profusely thanking everyone that has donated so far. They did note that donation perks (such as having your name published on the temple’s official site, a special access praying experience, and so on) will no longer be available due to the sheer number of donators. A good problem to have, we’d say!
▼ Would you think that something this historic could look this nice?
Donations will go towards general repairs and upkeep to create a better experience for visitors, and the temple staff also have plans to make it look extra-nice in 2023 to celebrate 30 years since becoming a World Heritage Site. Donations will continue to be accepted until the fund ends on July 25, and and hopefully you’ll be able to celebrate at this must-see location yourself for the 2023 celebration.
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