Highlights and access methods of Toshodaiji Temple (Nara Prefecture)

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Toshodai-ji is a temple located in Nara City, Nara Prefecture, which was established by Jianzhen, a high-ranking monk from the Tang dynasty. The temple features valuable buildings from the Nara period, such as the Kondo and Lecture Hall, and houses many Buddha statues designated as National Treasures. The temple also cherishes lotus flowers, and you can witness the beautiful sight of lotus blooms from the rainy season to summer.

In this article, we will explain the attractions of Toshodaiji Temple in Nara Prefecture and how to access it for those who are traveling to Japan from overseas.

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(Prefecture : Nara , Category : Temples)

Highlights of Toshodaiji Temple

Toshodai-ji Temple is the head temple of the Ritsu sect, located in Nara City, Nara Prefecture. The origin of Toshodai-ji Temple dates back to 759, when Jianzhen, a high-ranking monk from the Tang Dynasty, received the former residence of Prince Nittabe to establish his dojo. Originally called Touritu-Shoudai, the name was later changed to Toshodai-ji. The temple is registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the cultural properties of the ancient capital of Nara.

The Kondo and Lecture Hall, designated as National Treasures, are valuable architectural structures from the Nara period. Inside the Kondo are many Buddhist statues, and it's especially impressive to see the national treasure statues, such as the Rushana Buddha seated statue, the Yakushi Nyorai standing statue, and the Senju Kannon standing statue, all lined up. However, entry inside is not permitted, so they are admired from the outside.

The Lecture Hall was relocated from the Heijo Palace and then reconstructed. As almost none of the buildings from Heijo Palace remain, the Lecture Hall serves as a precious architectural structure conveying the image of the palace at the time. Also, the approach to the tomb at the mausoleum of Jianzhen is covered with moss and trees, presenting a mystical view.

Toshodai-ji Temple values the lotus plant, and many lotuses are planted in two lotus ponds and pots within the temple grounds. Depending on the type of lotus, the best time to view them varies, but you can appreciate beautiful lotus flowers from June to August. Also, an event called "Uchiwa-maki" is held every May, where heart-shaped precious fans, believed to ward off illnesses and evil, are distributed to visitors.

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Address and access method of Toshodaiji Temple

The address of Toshodaiji Temple is "13-46 Gojocho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture". The nearest station is Nishinokyo Station on the Kintetsu Kashihara Line. Change to the Nara Kotsu Bus from the station and get off at Toshodaiji. It's a short walk from the stop. Or please get off at Toshodaiji Higashiguchi after getting on the bus. It takes about 5 minutes on foot from the bus stop.

Attractions near Toshodaiji Temple

Several notable attractions are located near Toshodaiji Temple:

Todaiji Temple
This historic temple is home to the world's largest bronze Buddha statue, known as Daibutsu. Todaiji Temple is an important Buddhist site and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Nara Park
This beautiful park is famous for its hundreds of friendly deer, considered sacred messengers of the gods. Visitors can enjoy feeding and interacting with the deer, as well as exploring the park's various attractions.

Kofukuji Temple
Known for its five-story pagoda, Kofukuji Temple is a significant Buddhist temple and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The temple grounds also feature a treasure hall and the octagonal Ashura Hall.

This historic district features narrow streets lined with traditional merchant houses, craft shops, and cafes. It's a great place to experience the traditional atmosphere of Nara and visit the Naramachi Mechanical Toy Museum for a collection of traditional Japanese toys.

Kasuga Taisha
This ancient Shinto shrine, established in 768 AD, is known for its thousands of stone and bronze lanterns that adorn the shrine's grounds. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Other information about Toshodaiji Temple

Official site about Toshodaiji Temple :


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( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )