Todai-ji ("Great Eastern Temple") is reputedly the largest wooden structure in the world, and it houses what must be one of the largest bronze statues of Buddha around, the Daibutsu or Great Buddha. It was built in 752, and rebuilt multiple times thereafter following fires or earthquakes -- although the present incarnation, built in 1692, is substantially smaller than the original. As with most temples, one approaches through a massive gate; this one is called Nandaimon. Once inside, you can light incense sticks before approaching the main hall. Take a few minutes to let your mind settle as the fragrant smoke rises.
Once inside, be sure to walk all the way around the enormous statue. Behind the Daibutsu there is a pillar into which a smallish hole (allegedly the same size as the Great Buddha's nostril) has been created. Legend has it that crawling through will lead to true enlightenment in the next life; I'm afraid only portions of me could get enlightened, though.
Just outside the main hall, there is a statue of the Buddha of healing, Yakushi Nyorai. If you touch the figure and then any place on your body which gives pain, the devotion is said to bring relief.
Todaiji, which means Great Eastern Temple, is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples as well as being a landmark of Nara. It was founded by Emperor Shoumu to enshrine the Great Image of Buddha (Vairocana Buddha) and as the general head temple of all provincial temples in Japan in 752. Todaiji was so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 so as to lower its influence on government affairs. Fire destroyed the edifice twice and eventhough the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple's size, it is world's largest wooden building housing Japan's largest Buddha statue Daibutsu. Admission fee to Todaiji is 500 JPY. Opening hours are as follows : 8:00-16:30 (Nov to Feb), 8:00-17:00 (Mar), 7:30-17:30 (Apr to Sep), 7:30-17:00 (Oct).
The Daibutsu-den (Great Buddha's Hall) of Todai-ji is the largest wooden structure in the world. Due to it's world heritage listing it has become famous world wide and is a must-see for anyone coming to Japan.
Todai-ji contains a number of halls and pavilions other than the Daibutsu-den. Inside the Daibutsu-den you will find the Great Buddha of Nara (cast in the image of Buddha Vairocana). The Great Buddha is 15m tall and weighs 25 tonnes.
Todai-ji was built in 743 A.D under the orders of Emperor Shomu. At that time Nara was the capital of Japan (and it was known as "Heijo", rather than Nara). Todai-ji actually means " a large temple to the east" and Todai-ji is to the east of Nara. The main hall was built to enshrine the Great Buddha. It took 9 years to complete the main hall alone. After that more buildings were continually constructed and it took 40 years to completely construct all of the edifices.
The temple itself has been burnt down twice. Most of what you will see today was reconstructed in the Edo period.
One of the most popular things in Todai-ji seems to be the pillar with a hole at the bottom of it. This pillar is special to Todai-ji. The hole at the bottom is the exact same size as the Great Buddha's nostril. It is said if you can climb through it (therefore through Buddha's nostril) then you will become healthy. Popular with kids and very small adults - I should warn i have seen people get stuck half-way through, only to have to have to go back the way they came. Maybe not so bad, but it will happen with an audience of laughing fellow travellers.
Todai-ji is somewhere every visitor to Japan should visit, if they can.
The pillars inside the hall are so big that they had to be made from several trees. The Great Buddha Hall is still the largest wooden structure in the world, even though it is only 2/3 its former size!!
The website listed below includes the dates of the various festivals held here.
Todaiji (Eastern Great Temple - Kegon School of Buddhism) was rebuilt in 1709 after fire. The Statue is housed in the largest wooden house in the world. It is UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage Site as well as Japan's national Treasure. The Buddha is 14.98 m high and it weighs 500 tons.
This is in Todaiji Temple (in English it’s called Great East Temple), they say it’s one of the seven big temples in Nara. A placard is displayed right on the temple of Todajii and it reads that this started about the year 745.
The main picture which is:PHOTO: 7128
Hi VT’ers, In the event the letterings or the prints on the photo is not too clear to read it, allow me to re-type it for those of you that maybe interested to read and learn more about this miniture photo.
“This is a reconstruction of the original temple areal of Todai-ji on the scale of 1 to 50 . A group of specialists lead by Shun’ichi Amanuma, a doctor of engineering made this model during the Taisho period (1912-26) on the basis of old documents including Todaji-ji Digent”) or Shoso-in Monjo) . One can see that the Daibutsu-den of those days was wider than the current bldg. and moreover, that there were two pagodas to the east and west that reaches a hundred meter in height”.
Todaiji Temple is by far the most famous and most-visited site in Nara! For many it's worth the trip just to see the Daibutsu (Buddha statue), which is the largest in Japan, but there are many other equally impressive features of the temple.
It was first built in 762 as the head Buddhist temple in all of Japan and flourished during the years when Nara (Heijo-kyo) was the nation's capital. In fact, the capital was actually moved due to the growing power of local Buddhist temples, with Todaiji being one of the most powerful and influential. In order to maintain control, the Imperial Court moved their capital to Nagaoka and then to Kyoto and temples were not allowed to be built close to the city center for many years.
From the gate to the temple, Todaiji is an amazing place that has certainly earned its status as one of Japan's top attractions!
Entrance is 500 yen.
The giant temple-guards of Todaji Temple
are looking very grim in order to protect the temple against bad spirits and ghosts and in my last photograph you can see the giant size of them against the small tourists passing by them while entering the temple: these wooden sculptures date back to the year 1199 and are about 8,5 meters high.
In my 2nd photo : the temple-guard is standing on the head of a bad creature
The octagonal lantern of Todaiji Temple
is 4,62 meters high and dates back to the 8th century. It is considdered a national treasury of Japan and part of the Unesco World-heritage of Nara.
In my 4th photo: a vase inside the temple
and my 5th photo : one of the large pillars holding the whole construction of the wooden building.
Once again I dont remember all the interesting details of these wonderful temples because most of the time I was trying to get the best photos from different angles and did not have enough time to always listen to our tourguide. And it was also heavily raining, but at least these temples have a lot of arcades, where you can find shelter and walk easily without getting wet.
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