Toshodaiji Temple in Nara Prefecture has a history of being used as a place where Ganjin communicates religious precepts. There are many Buddha statues at Toshodaiji Temple, and there are many buildings and Buddha statues that have been designated as national treasures.
Toshodaiji is a temple related to Ganjin, known as a great man who introduced Buddhism to Japan. It is the sohonzan (the head temple of a Buddhist sect) of the Ritsu sect, one of the nanto rokushu (the six sects of Buddhism which flourished in ancient Nara). It is well known around the world, and it has been a popular sacred place where many tourists and worshipers visit.
Ganjin spent 5 years at the famous Todaiji Temple in Buddhist monk, who came to Japan after many hardships. After that, going to the former residential land of Imperial Prince Niitabe, in 759, it opened a training facility as a place for those who learned religious precepts. It seems that it became the prototype of Toshodaiji Temple.
Kondo (Main Hall) in Toshodaiji is a precious building that still retains its original appearance. In the hall, in addition to the statue of Rushanabutsu (Deity Coming From The Sun), the standing statue of Yakushi Nyorai (healing Buddha) on the right, and Senju Kannon ryuzo (standing statue of Thousand-Armed Avalokiteshwara) on the left are placed. Its appearance is very beautiful, it has historical value and is surrounded by a majestic and solemn atmosphere, and you can feel the sacred atmosphere.
The lecture hall was built by moving and remodeling Heijo-kyu Palace’s “Higashi-choshuden” (Eastern Morning Audience Hall).
It is said to be the only existing Heijo-kyu Palace building. It is said that the windows and doorways were renovated during the relocation, but you can still see the beauty of the palace building. The standing statue of Miroku Bosatsu (Buddha of the Future), an important cultural property, is placed here.
The visit time of Toshodaiji is from 8:30 in the morning to 17:00 in the evening. Please note that the last admission is until 16:30.
The nearest station to Toshodaiji is Japan Railway, Kintetsu Nara Station or Kintetsu Nishinokyo Station. Kintetsu Nara Station is a convenient spot that can be easily accessed from outside the prefecture or from within Nara Prefecture. For this reason, you should head to Kintetsu Nara Station first. Take the bus bound for Rokujoyama, which departs from Kintetsu Nara Station, and get off at “Toshodaiji” at the place about 17 minutes ahead.
Toshodaiji is a popular sacred place that is visited by many tourists and worshipers every year. When visiting Nara, be sure to visit Toshodaiji.
Designated as National Treasure, Important Cultural Property
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.
The national treasure, World Heritage
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.
Busshari, Ganjin brought from Tang is resting
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).
There are only 3 Buddha statues actually having 1000 hands
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 valuable cultural assets representing the kanshitsu-zukuri method of the Nara period
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.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Address:||Gojocho 13-46 Nara, Nara 630-8032 Japan|
|Access:||Kintetsu Kashihara-sen Line “Nishinokyo-eki Station” (10 minutes walk)|
|Price/Charge:||500 yen (Adult)|
400 yen (High School Student or Under)
200 yen (Elementary School Students)
Please refer the official web page.