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Todaiji temple

Todaiji templeMap around Nara ParkTodaiji is the head temple of Kegon Buddhism, which is the name of the Japanese transmission of the Huayan school of Chinese Buddhism.
It is located at the foot of Wakakusayama (Mount Wakakusa), and is located about 2.5 km east-northeast of JR Nara station or about 1.5 km east-northeast of Kintetsu Nara station.

This temple is one of 9 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" designated as a World Heritage Site.

In the early 8th century, here was a temple named Konshuji.
In 742, this temple was upgraded to the provincial temple in this area.
Emperor Shomu (701-756) valued this temple, and he enlarged it. And he gave the name "Todaiji" to this temple.

He decided to construct a Great Buddha statue in 743.
The difficult construction of the huge statue was started in 747, and it took over two years to complete.
And the consecration ceremony was held in 752, then the detailing and the constraction of the temple for the Great Buddha finished in 758.

But too much national treasury had been spent to construct this temple and Great Buddha, so it is said that the government had had financial difficulties extremely.

In 1181 and 1567, this temple was destroyed by fire by civil wars.
The last rebuilding was from the end of the 17th century to the early 18th century.
But several destroyed buildings hasn't been rebuilt.

The precincts of this temple is about 1 km from east to west and about 0.8 km from north to south.

There is Nandaimon gate at the south part of the precincts.
It was rebuilt in 1199, and it is 25 meters high.
On the both side of the gate, a pair of large wooden statues of guardian stand.
This gate and the statues are designated as national treasures.

About 400 meters north of Nandaimon, there is Kondo temple housing the Great Buddha.
It is also called "Daibutsuden". Great Buddha is called "Daibutsu" in Japanese.
Daibutsuden was rebuilt in 1709.
The height is 46.8 meters, the widthe is 57 meters, and the depth is 50.5 meters, and it is the largest ancient wooden building in the world.
But it is said that the size is three quarters of the original temple.
It is designated as a national treasure.
In the building, there are the Great Buddha and some other wooden Buddha statues.

The Daibutsu is very famous, and is the symbol of Todaiji.
It was completed in 758, but the last repairing the damage by fire was 1691.
It was made of copper, and the height is 14.7 meters.
To create this statue, it is said that many lives were lost by various accidents by using melting copper or mercury.

About 500 meters east of Daibutsuden, there are Sangatsudo and Nigatsudo.

Sangatsudo is one of the original buildings built in the 740s, and houses 14 wooden Buddha statues.
The formal name is "Hokkedo".

Nigatsudo was rebuilt in 1667.
"Nigatsu" means "February", and Omizutori Festival is held in February in the lunar calendar (March in solar calendar).

Sangatsudo and Nigatsudo are also designated as national treasures.

The admission fee to Daibutsuden, Sangatsudo and Nigatsudo is 500 yen.

How to get to here

By route bus

About 10 minutes from JR Nara station, about 4 minutes from Kintetsu Nara station.
Get off at Daibutsuden-Kasugataisha-mae or Todaiji-Daibutsuden stop.
If you walk from Kintetsu Nara station, it takes about 20 minutes.

Nandaimon in Todaiji
Photo by Railstation.net
Nakamon in Todaiji
Photo by Railstation.net
Photo by Railstation.net
Eaves of Daibutsuden
Photo by Railstation.net
Daibutsu in Todaiji
Photo by Koto-Roman
Road to Nigatsudo
Photo by Railstation.net
Photo by Railstation.net
Photo by Railstation.net

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