As being a daytrip-attraction...
As being a daytrip-attraction from Tokyo, in the evenings it gets very quiet in Nara. If you can, stay as long as you can and walk around when the masses have left. Then the beauty of peaceful Nara will truely come to it's right and your waiting will be rewarded.
Kofukuji Temple is located at the entrance of Nara Park, very close to Kintetsu Nara Station, where it has been for almost thirteen hundred years. Kofukuji is also said to be a clan Temple to the patron deity of the Fujiwaras, a powerful aristocratic clan which wielded enormous influence in Japan over a five-century period beginning in the 8th century.
Kagami-no-Himemiko founded the original temple in 669. She was the consort of Fujiwara Kamatari, who was one of the founders of the Fujiwara family, which actually governed Japan from the seventh to the eleventh centuries.
The original temple was located in Yamashina Suehara, in what is now Kyoto Prefecture, and it was used as the private place for worship of Fujiwara Kamatari. In 678, it was moved to Umayasaka in the Asuka district of Nara Prefecture, where the capital was located, and was re-named Umayasaka Temple. Three years after Heijokyo was established as the capital in 710, this temple was moved to its present site and renamed as Kofukuji.
Its five-storied pagoda, which has become a symbol of Nara, has been ravaged by fire many times over the temple's history; the current pagoda, rebuilt in the 15th century, recreates the magnificence of the Tempyo-period style of architecture.
There's lots of space surrounding this pagoda exposed to the sun. On the very hot day, I found a tree about 50m away for some shelter from the scorching sun and took a picture of the pagoda from there.
Kofukuji Temple (5-storey pagoda)
As you walk towards the main road at the exit of Nara Park, you'll come across this 5-storey pagoda also known as Kofukuji Temple.
Please see travelogue for pix of the 3-storey pagoda, nearby temples and intricate designs of Japanese crafts.
Binzuru (Pindola Bharadvaja)
This Binzuru is a wooden sculpture dating back to the 18th century. Binzuru is said to have excelled in the mastery of occult powers and it is commonly believed in Japan that who-ever rubs his hand on a part of the sculpture of Binzuru and then rubs that same part of his/her body as well, his ailment in this part of the body will disappear.
Hiromi, Yuuri, and I went to the Nara park to feed some deers. They were so cute. Then we saw the giant buddha in Todaiji. I qued up with all the little children to try to crawl though a hole in a pole that is said to be the same size as the buddha's nostril. If you can make it through, you are guaranteed enlightenment. I had my doubts, but I made it through - probably one of the few adults to even try it. Even some kids could not make it through.