A number of records refer to the origin of the temple, such as the Nihongi and Fusō-ryakuki. The original buildings of what was then called Hōkō-ji were constructed in 588, shortly after the introduction of Buddhism to Japan, under the orders of Soga no Umako. The temple was built using the guidance of masters and artisans from the ancient Korean kingdom of Baekje.
Following the transfer of the capital from Asuka to Heijō-kyō (now Nara city), the buildings of Asuka-dera were also removed from the original site in Asuka to Nara in 718 CE, and developed into a huge temple under the name of Gangō-ji. The original site of Hōkō-ji was also maintained as a temple, which survives into modern times.
The main object of worship at Asuka-dera is the bronze Great Buddha, which said to have been made by Kuratsukuri no Tori in the early seventh century. The statue is designated as an Important Cultural Property.
- Kawagoe, Aileen (2008-12-20). "How Buddhism took root in Japan". Heritage of Japan.
- Aston, William. (2005). Nihongi, p. 101.
- "ASUKA/Asukadera". Asuka Historical Museum. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
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- Aston, William G. (2005). Nihongi: Chronicles of Japan from the Earliest Times to A.D. 697. Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company. ISBN 0-8048-3674-4
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- Titsingh, Isaac, ed. (1834). [Siyun-sai Rin-siyo/Hayashi Gahō, 1652], Nipon o daï itsi ran; ou, Annales des empereurs du Japon. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland.
- Varley, H. Paul , ed. (1980). [ Kitabatake Chikafusa, 1359], Jinnō Shōtōki ("A Chronicle of Gods and Sovereigns: Jinnō Shōtōki of Kitabatake Chikafusa" translated by H. Paul Varley). New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-04940-4
- Asuka Historical Museum website
- Gango-ji as world heritage site (JAL)
- Gango-ji in context of Nara tourism
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