406-1 Zoushi-cho
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Todaiji is most famous for its giant Great Buddha statue, which was decreed to be built by Emperor Shomu in 743. The origins of Todaiji are from a temple called Kinshoji which was founded in 728 as a resting place for the spirit of Crown Price Motoi, son of Emperor Shomu.

Under the national system of monasteries, called the Kokubunji system, which was implemented in 741 by the Emperor, the status of Todaiji became further elevated to chief temple. The image of the Buddha was completed in 749, when the capital returned to Nara and it was consecrated in 752 with an elaborate ceremony.

As Todaiji was the chief temple, it was the venue for important rituals such as prayers for the peace of the nation and prosperity of the people. It was also a centre for the training of scholar monks of the Buddhist doctrine.

With the onset of the Meiji era in 1868, when the separation of Shinto and Buddhist religious establishments was legislated, the existence of Todaiji was threatened. However, it managed to survive this threat and today preserves many historical and cultural treasures form the past.


406-1 Zoushi-cho

January - December
Monday - Sunday: 08:00-16:30



Sam Lesmana

It’s often said that the Buddha of Nara is the tallest bronze sitting Buddha statue in the country, followed by the one in Kamakura, but this is actually a small error many visitors make when reading the pamphlets: Nara and Kamakura are the largest among the *historical* monuments, not out of the total of statues of the country. The Buddha of Seiryū-ji of Aomori was built later on and so is not considered a historical monument, but it is certainly much larger at 21m in height, followed by the Todaiji in Nara (15m) and the Daibutsu in Kamakura (13,35m).

Frank C

I've been there twice. Definitely amazed by how beautiful this place is.
Small tip for those who haven't been here before:
1) Todaiji has a wooden statue with a red cloak (definitely something different from other temples I've been to)
2) If you get an omikuji (fortune telling paper) that says bad luck, don't worry! It doesn't necessarily mean it's bad. You can look up detailed descriptions online. Also, remember to tie the bad luck omikuji onto the metal railings (I believe it's right in front of the wooden statue)
3) If you're interested (and have a small enough physique), you can try lining up to climb through the small hole in one of the pillars!

Michele Richardson

One of my favorite places to visit when I'm in this area of Japan. I've been here a total of three times and I always notice something new. Everything about this place is magnificent and worth a visit.


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