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Todaiji Temple

World's largest bronze buddha, wooden hall and wooden gate.

Todaiji (Great Eastern Temple) is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples, constructed in 752. The main hall of Todaiji, Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall), holds the record as the world's largest wooden building, although the current structure rebuilt in 1692 is only two-thirds the size of the original main hall.


3 hours


JR Nara Station, Kintetsu Nara Station

A landmark of Nara

Nara is known as the oldest capital of Japan, dating back to the 8th century. Nara is home to many ancient temples and shrines, each with immense historical significance, however Todaiji is one of the highlights due to its hosting of the world’s largest bronze buddha and largest wooden gate. Also a popular place for school trips, since we encountered many large student groups here.

Nara Park

In present day, Todaiji is located inside Nara Park, a large park area that covers a few of the important temples and shrines. In the park you may also find a lot of free-roaming deer, and you can buy crackers to feed them. Approach with care though, because some can be aggressive and warnings to ‘watch out for the deer’ are plastered around town.

Koufukuji Temple

If you came to Nara by train, you will likely pass Koufukuji Temple on your way through Nara Park. As one of the oldest temples, founded in 669 CE, you can witness traces of humanity’s early glory.

Koufukuji was originally as a buddhist chapel built in modern-day Kyoto in 669 CE, then moved to Umayasaka in Nara Prefecture in 672 during a rebellion before finally locating to its present site in Nara at the wake of the Nara Period in 710. Only then was it named Koufukuji (興福寺), meaning “a temple that generates blessings”.

The southern round hall.

The temple held great significance throughout history, increasing in power way into the 15th century and even merged with the Kasuga Shrine, another important site in Nara. However the 15th century started its downfall, with the temple being destroyed in a fire in 1717. Throughout the Meiji Period (1868-1912) it was forcibly separated from Kasuga Shrine and abandoned, though with time it has been restored permission as a religious institution and historical site.

The Central Golden Hall (left). Five Storied Pagoda (right).

For further information, please access the official website:

What is special in Todaiji Temple?

Todaiji Grand South Gate

Todaiji’s Grand South Gate, known as Nandai-mon (南大門) is Japan’s largest wooden gate and the main gate to Todaiji’s premises. The current gate was rebuilt after being destroyed by a typhoon in the Heian Period, but its magnificence still stands. The entire structure is around 25 meters in height and was constructed using a technique known as the “Daibutsu style”, a construction style based in Sung Chinese structures, introduced in the 12th century when the gate was reconstructed.

Todaiji Main Hall

The Great Buddha Hall, Daibutsu-den (大仏殿) hosts the Great Buddha and some smaller accompanying statues, and is the main highlight of the temple complex. The building is known to be the largest wooden structure in the world at a hight of around 49 meters, width of 57 meters and length 50 meters. Similar to the Grand South Gate, the original building has been destroyed and rebuilt. The hall is a marvelous highlight of Nara.

Todaiji's wooden detail.

Entrance fee: 600 yen for the main hall.

For further information, please access the official website:

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