Take a trip to Todaiji Temple

Take a trip to Todaiji Temple

by Stefanus Husin

Todaiji Temple, also known as the Great Eastern Temple, is one of Japan's most famous temples and is an iconic landmark of Nara City. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, this is one of the must-see temples in Nara. This temple was built in 752 and it is the world’s largest wooden building, despite being rebuilt in 1692 at only two-thirds of the original size.

As you walk towards Todaiji Temple, you will pass by the Nandaimon Gate, where there are 2 statues that symbolise the Nio Guardian Kings. All the buildings and gates at Todaiji are huge in size and you will not be able to help but marvel at the engineering and sheer size of everything. Not forgetting you will be able to see lots of deer roaming around, waiting to be fed by as well.

Inside the main hall, you will be greeted with gigantic Buddha statues. The main statue is 15 meters in height and represents Vairocana and there are two Bodhisattvas accompanying it either side. It will no doubt surprise, even overwhelm, you as you look up and gaze at the gigantic Buddha statue.

Inside the main building, you will also be able to see the 3D scale model of the original buildings where they had originally planned to create 2 tall pagodas accompanying the main temple hall. Inside the main temple, one of the wooden pillars has a hole in it and people are allowed to crawl through it if they wish to. According to the legend, the size of the hole is equivalent to the Buddha statue's nostril and if you do crawl through you will be blessed health and happiness.

Nearby, the Todaiji Museum, which opened in 2011, is worth visiting and is located next to the Nandaimon Gate. You will be able to see different religious and cultural treasures inside. I hope you will have a great time visiting Nara as much as I did.

This article was published on JapanTravel in October 2014.

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