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Yakushi-ji Temple 薬師寺

Kondō, Yakushiji,  Nara (photo by KENPEI - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)
Genjotō, Yakushiji, Nara (photo by 663highland - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

Yakushiji is the head temple of the Hossō school of Japanese Buddhism. Founded in 680 is one of the country's oldest temple as well as one of the most famous imperial temple. It is dedicated to Yakushi Nyorai, the Healing Buddha. It is believed that the temple was moved to its present location in 718.


Yakushiji is one of the few temples in Japan to have a strictly symmetric layout, with two five-storied pagodas flanking the Kondō (金堂 - Main Hall) and Daikōdō (大講堂 - Great Lecture Hall).

The temple complex was ravaged by fire in 973, and the main hall again in 1528. Most of the buildings have been restored since the 1970's, starting with the Main Hall in 1976, the West Tower (西塔, Saitō) in 1981, the Middle Gate (中門) in 1984, and the Daikōdō in 2003. The East Tower (東塔, Tō-tō) is the only original 8th-century structure, although it is currently undergoing renovation works, which are to last until 2019.

Night view of the Yakushi-ji Temple, Nara (photo by NNE - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

Opening Hours & Admission

Yakushiji is open all year-round from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry 4:30 pm). Admisssion costs ¥800.

How to get there

The temple is located next to Nishikyo Station on the Kintetsu Kashihara Line. It can be accessed from Nara Station (25min, ¥250) with a change at Yamato-Saidaiji Station.

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