The Hyakumantō Darani, also known as "One Million Pagodas and Dharani Prayers", is one of the first recorded examples of printing in the world, as well as the earliest known use of woodblock printing in Japan. The rolls were commissioned in 764 by Empress Shōtoku, who ordered that one million wooden pagodas, containing a printed scroll, be distributed around the country to give thanks for the suppression of the Emi rebellion.
The prayers, printed on hand-made Japanese paper that was placed inside the pagoda, are entitled Kompon, Jishinin, Sorin, and Rokudo, and celebrate peace. The lengthy printing process was completed in year 770. The scrolls contain a Buddhist prayer called Vimalasuddhaprabhasa mahadharani sutra (Mukujōkō daidarani kyō).
The wooden pagodas measure about 21.4 cm in height and consist of three stories. They were dedicated to the ten major temples of the time (Sadai-ji, Daian-ji, Shitennô-ji Yakushi-ji, Tôdai-ji, Hôryu-ji, Sûfuku-ji, Kôfuku-ji, Genkô-ji, and Kôfuku-ji). They are made of different kinds of wood: cypress for the base, and Katsura tree for the top section.