Nigatsu-do Temple


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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.





Jyceling Tan

One of the most peaceful and quiet temple in Nara with a wonderful view across Nara park.

Mike Bosack

This is easy to overlook when focused on the Todaiji and the Big Buddha, but when you're there, don't forget to stop by the Nigatsu-do, which is fascinating in its own right. Just a quick stroll away from the main Todaiji area.

Athena Lam

The Nigatsu-do came out as my favourite temple in the park. Since it is a bit deeper in, the tourists usually thin out. Even on a sunny day in summer, the peak season, I found this temple serenely quiet. It's also much easier to see the workmanship on the hanging lanterns and wooden locks on the ceiling than at Todai-ji. Just be careful going up and down the stairs to get to the platform!

If you can, try to come in the early morning, before the tour groups fill the entire park.


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