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Tōdai-ji Temple 東大寺

Daibutsu, Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara (© coward_lion - Fotolia.com)
Daibutsu, Tōdai-ji Temple, Nara

Tōdai-ji Temple is reputedly the largest wooden building in the world - a title contested by the Higashi Hongaji temple in Kyōto. It houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana. The temple is protected by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

In year 743, emperor Shōmu ordered the construction of a giant Buddha Vairocana statue to protect the people of epidemics and disasters so common at that time.

Main Hall, Tōdai-ji, Nara
Nandaimon Gate, Tōdai-ji, Nara (photo by 663highland - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

The 15m high and 437 tonnes Daibutsu (大仏) or "Great Buddha" was completed in 751 and remains one of the largest bronze statue in the world.

Although dating from the 8th century, the Daibutsu suffered several damages and reparations, so that little remains of the original. In the 9th century, an earthquake chopped its head off. Fires destroyed the temple in 1180 and again in 1567 melting the Buddha's right hand.

Daibutsu, Todai-ji, Nara (photo by Mandylion)

Opening Hours & Admission

The Daibutsuden Hall is open all year-round from 7:30 am (8:00 am from November to March) until 5:30 pm (5:00 pm in March and October, 4:30 pm from November to February). The Todaiji Museum opens from 9:30 am and the last entry is 30 min before the closing of the Daibutsuden. Admisssion to the Daibutsuden only or museum only is ¥500. A combined ticket is ¥800.

How to get there

Todaiji is located in the center-north of Nara Park, in the eastern part of the city. The nearest station is Kintetsu Nara, located 1.4 km away (approx. 20 minutes walk). Alternatively, it is 2.5 km (approx. 30 minutes walk) from JR Nara Station.

Map of attractions in Nara

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