Photo: Readyfor

Crowdfunding campaign for Nara World Heritage temple surpasses ¥100 million in 8 days

By Shannon, SoraNews24

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.

Sources: Yomiuri Shimbun via Otaku.comReadyforIkaruga official site

Images: Readyfor

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

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I agree about the not paying tax thing. And once a month they visit people homes to do a prayer performance for deceased family, which costs ¥10000-20000 plus special tea and snacks.

but, if it wasn’t for temples and shrines in every village, town and cities, Japan would just be concrete and cars. They are nice, beautiful peaceful places. The monks do “mass” a few times a day. As I can’t understand Japanese, I don’t have worry about brainwashing, just listen to their voices and the amazing music. I recommend if you have stress, go to one, sit under a shady tree and breathe air, listening to the sound of birds.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

I also love these temples and shrines. Got married in one.

The govt should let in tourists so Crowdfunding would be unnecessary. (Not this ridiculous guided tour nonsense.)

Everyone has suffered enough for too long.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I gave to crowdfunding campaign. It was worth every yen.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I love Nara but it was kind of depressing to visit there last month after golden week when faced with the reality of many closed down souvenir shops and eateries walking from JR Nara to Todai-ji. Everything else was empty or dead and only hoards of visiting school children were in abundance shouting and screaming around there way around the historical sites. There were no international and few local tourists.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Thanks for good news in the morning!

Legally, temples' entrance "fees" are also donations; that is, a visitor can enter without paying, which is why the temples do not have to pay taxes. (The city of Kyoto has long abhorred this as it shrinks their tax base mightily.) But doing so would likely stain your karma.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The monks do “mass” a few times a day

Buddhist temples most certainly do not hold "mass".

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Beautiful structure, worth every yen collected to keep it in working order.

Good Job.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I don’t know why for a country like Japan where 90% of the population doesn’t affiliate with any religion and don’t believe in God, why they need so many useless temples. Food for thought.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

You donate today.

Problem is next year if limited tourists, they will ask again, then the next...

So will current donators still donate, as Japan will go poorer and poorer ?

I thought that for such national building treasures, government was providing subsidies.

Pray for Japan to open its borders to tourists as before.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Dunno why my above comment was downvoted. I've lived in both Kyoto and Nara so am a bit attuned to the situation. Kyoto has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for years, even before the corona virus. The temples are reluctant to help: labeling their entrance "fees" as "donations" exempts them from taxes that would help run the city. It is a real problem about to come to a crux.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If Japan open up to all tourists earlier or even now.. they would easily get Y300 millions !!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The place is breath taking and a very interesting visit. Together with the many other small temples and old buildings around the city I find Nara a really nice touristic destination. Much less crowded than Kyoto as well.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Horyuji is great. Well worth a visit. There are free temples and shrines just as good, but the entrance fee that this one has is not extortionate.

The Horyuji pagoda is constructed in an interesting way which is interpreted as ancient knowledge against earthquakes. I doubt records remain, so there will be a degree of speculation to this. Since earthquakes do not happen with the same ferocity and frequency across the country, Horyuji still standing is not evidence in itself that it must have been seriously shaken at any point in its lifetime. Even if Nara itself has been badly shaken, the temple itself may be on solid ground less affected by it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

How did they manage to keep the deer out of the photos? I've been there several times and never has it been as empty as shown.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good but having lived in Nara I will tell you locals hate these temples. They say "They attract too many foreigners. It would be better if they made them off limits to visitors to keep the foreigners out."

The locals in Nara and Kyoto are very uptight about tourists yet want their money. Their attitude is just throw your money at us and keep moving hopefully out of our homogenous Nihonjiron town.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I also lived in Nara and never once heard a complaint about tourists, in fact most were baffled why school trips stayed in Kyoto and came on a day trip to Nara. They thought it should be the other way round and tourists are welcomed with free guided tours from volunteers and a great information office minutes from Nara Kintetsu Station

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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