Toshodaiji Temple, Nara

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Toshodaiji Temple located in Nishi-no-Kyo area of ​​Midwest Nara City is a temple representing Nara with Todaiji Temple, Kofukuji Temple, Yakushiji Temple and Horyuji Temple. Many architecture and Buddhist statues from the middle to the late stage of the Nara era when the temple was founded are left. It was built in 759 by Ganjin Wajo, a high priest of the Tang Dynasty who came to Japan at the end of many hardships. Still in the precincts, buildings such as Kondo Hall of the tile roof with Shibi (ornamental tile set in pair on both ends of the ridgepole), auditorium transferred from the Heijo Palace, treasure house built in the Azekura style (a type of storehouse construction), etc. that remains an old form in the Nara era. There are also many Buddhist statues of the Tempyo era, and it is designated as National Treasure, Important Cultural Property.

Toshodaiji Temple is also registered as a World Heritage Site as part of the cultural heritage of Ancient Nara. In the precincts, as a temple built in the Nara period, the only existing temple “Kondo Hall”, the remains of court architecture “Lecture Hall”, the national treasure such as “Kozakura Hall” built in the Kamakura period (1240) stand side by side.

The two-story building on the east side of Kondo Hall and Lecture Hall is Kozakura Hall. Originally, a drum was placed and played the role of sounding a timepiece or an alarm in case of an emergency. Currently there is not a “drum” in this hall, but Busshari (Buddha’s ashes) that Ganjin brought from Tang is resting. Therefore, it is also called Shariden (reliquary hall).

Standing Statue of Senju (thousand-armed) Kannon Bosatsu (Avalokiteshwara), which is rested as an attendant of Rushanabutsu (Deity Coming From The Sun). This is a very rare statue with 5.36 meters high, with really a thousand hands. Normally, when creating thousand-armed Avalokiteshwara as a Buddha image, counting one hand as 25, actually making 40 hands are enough. There are only 3 Buddha statues actually having 1000 hands. In addition to Toshodaiji Temple, only Fujiidera Temple in Osaka and Kyoto Juhoji Temple.

The seated statue of Rushanabutsu is the principal image of Toshodaiji Temple, and is designated as the national treasure. Not only this Buddha statue but also two other colossus in Kondo Hall are the same, but it is made by the technique called kanshitsu-zukuri method (dry lacquer). Kanshitsu-zukuri method is a technique that was transmitted from Tang, a technique that was popularly used in the Buddhist image of the Nara period. However, because it is more money and time consuming technique than wooden construction, it declined in the Heian era. Kondo Hall of Toshodaiji Temple are the valuable cultural assets representing the kanshitsu-zukuri method of the Nara period.


Name:Toshodaiji Temple
Address:Gojocho 13-46 Nara, Nara 630-8032 Japan
Access:Kintetsu Kashihara-sen Line “Nishinokyo-eki Station” (10 minutes walk)
Tel:(+81) 742-33-7900
Price/Charge:500 yen (Adult)
400 yen (High School Student or Under)
200 yen (Elementary School Students)
Please refer the official web page.
Official site:

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