Yakushiji is a Buddhist temple,
and is located about 4 km west-southwest of JR Nara station.
There is Toshodaiji temple about 0.9 km nort of this temple.
This temple is one of 9 constructions of "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara" designated as a World Heritage Site.
This temple was founded in 680 by Emperor Tenmu in Fujiwara-kyo, the
prior capital of Nara.
Then after the capital was moved to Nara in 710, this temple was also moved to this place in 718.
Yakushi Nyorai was enshrined in this temple. Yakushi Nyorai is one of the gods of Buddhism, and is the god of health.
There are many buildings in the temple grounds.
But most of them were destroyed by fire in 973 and 1528, so they were rebuilt later.
Only original building is Toto (East pagoda), and it is said that it
was built in 730.
The height is 34.1 meters.
It looks like a six-story pagoda, but it is a three-story pagoda as building construction.
Ernest Francisco Fenollosa (1853-1908), an American art historian and philosopher who introduced Japanese art to the world, saw this unique and beautiful pagoda, and it is said that he called this pagoda "Frozen music".
Kondo had been rebiilt in the early 19th century, and it was rebuilt
again in 1976.
In Kondo, there are the principal images of this temple.
They are three statues (Yakushi Nyorai, Nikko Bosatsu, Gakko Bosatsu) and all of them were created in the 7-8th centuries. These are designated as national treasures.
Some of the other buildings are designated as national treasures and
important cultural properties.
In the buildings, there are many important Buddha statues.
Genjo-Sanzoin is a temple at the north part of this temple, and was
built in 1991.
Genjo Sanzo (Xuanzang in Chinese, 602-664) was a famous Chinese priest, and he traveled to learn Buddhism around India through Silk Road for 16 years.
In the midst of Sino-Japanese war, Japan military found the bone of him in Nanjing city in China in 1942 by chance.
After intense discussion between Japan and China, it was settled in the result that both countries enshrine it on halves.
And a part of it was enshrined in this temple in 1981.
In 2000, Ikuo Hirayama (1930-), a famous Japanese-style painter, completed the wall paintings of thos temple over the past 30 years.
The regular admission fee to this temple is 500 yen.
When Genjo-Sanzoin is opened additionally, it is 800 yen. (Jan.1-5, Mar.1-Jun.15, Sep.16-Nov.25)
By Kintestsu Kashihara Line, get off at Nishinokyo station.
Photo by Nara-no-Sekaiisan