Yakushiji temple [薬師寺]
Yakushiji is a Buddhist temple, and is located about 4 km west-southwest of JR Nara station.
There is Toshodaiji temple about 1 km north 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 by Emperor Tenmu in Fujiwara-kyo in 680.
Fujiwara-kyo was the prior capital of Nara, and was in Asuka area about 25 km south of Nara city.
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.
But most of them were destroyed by fire in 973 and 1528, so they were rebuilt later.
The precinct is a square shape with each side being about 200 meters long.
Nanmon as the entrance gate is on the south side.
There is the main gate Chumon behind Nanmon, and visitors enter the main precinct after passing through the gate.
A corridor including Chumon surrounds the main precinct.
There is Kondo (金堂) in the center of the precinct.
Because the original Kondo in the 8th century had been destroyed, temporary temple had been rebiilt in the early 19th century.
Current Kondo was newly rebuilt 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 7th to 8th centuries.
These are designated as national treasures.
Two pagodas stand on the both side of Kondo.
On the right hand, there is Tôtô (東塔, East pagoda).
It is only the original building of Yakushiji, and it is said that it was built in 730.
The height is 34.1 meters.
It is a three-story pagoda, but it looks like a six-story pagoda because each floor has two roofs.
It is designated as a national treasure.
On the left hand, there is Saitô (西塔, West pagoda).
It was rebuilt in 1981.
There is huge Daikoudo (大講堂) behind Kondo.
It was rebuilt in 2003, and the priests use it for the ceremonies.
Some of the other buildings are designated as national treasures and important cultural properties.
In the buildings, there are many important Buddha statues.
How to get here
By Kintestsu Railway, get off at Nishinokyo station of Kashihara Line.
Or, about 1 km walk from Toshodaiji.