Nigatsudo, which literally means “the hall of the second month”, is a significant subcomplex of Todaiji Temple. Located to the east of the Great Buddha Hall, on the hillside of Mount Wakakusa.
It is renowned for a repentance service dedicated to the image of the eleven-faced Bodhisattva Kannon, started in 760 and continued annually since then. The service is known as Shunie, which means second-month service, as it is held in the second month of the lunar calendar. Now it is held from 1 March to 15th, also referred to as Omizutori, which means “taking sacred water”.
Nigatsudo hall was destroyed by a fire in 1667 but reconstructed in 1669. In 1944, the current main hall of Nigatsudo was designated as a National Treasure. It consists of two Kannons, one large and one small, both of which are declared as “secret buddhas”, and hence not shown to public.