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.
Todaiji is one of Japan's most famous temple and a Nara landmark. It is significant for housing Japan's largest Buddha statue which measures about 15 meters tall as well as being the largest wooden structure in the world.
And it is ENORMOUS. You have to be there, approaching the main building Daibutsu Den on foot to appreciate its largeness.
Within the Todaiji Kondo (Todaiji Great Buddha Hall) the large Vairocana Buddha statue sits in the middle, while to its right sits the Thousand-armed Kannon. At the four corners of the hall, stood the statues of four fearsome gods. Being of much historical and religious significance, Todaiji also houses much priceless artifacts and relics.
The picture can't describe the size of this statue. It is over 16 meters high and cast in tons of gold and bronze.
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.
Todaiji ("Great Eastern Temple") is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara.
Todaiji was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower its influence on government affairs.
Not only is Todaiji housing Japan's largest Buddha statue (Daibutsu), but it is also the world's largest wooden building, even though the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple's size.
Take a look at my 4th photograph in order to realize the giant size of these Buddha-statues in comparison to somebody standing in front of it on the left of my picture.
This is the largest Buddha-statue made of bronze, it has a weight of 452 tons, a hight of 16 meters and including the basement it is more than 30 meters high.
You will find it inside the biggest wooden building on earth : 57 x 50 meters wide and 50 meters high, it was built in the year 1708.
The big Buddha-Hall of Todaji Temple
dates back to the year 1708 and is considdered to be the biggest wooden building on earth : It is 57 meters long, 50 meters wide and 50 meters high and it was built in order to house the largest Buddha-sculpture on earth that was made of bronze, see it in my previous tip ! In my 2nd photo you can see the giant size of the entrance-gates of this hall.
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.
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
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.
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.
The main hall of Todaiji Temple houses the Diahutsu and is known as the world's largest wooden structure. There is a shrine here that's dedicated to animals and it is here that you'll find Nara park, or better known as Deer Park.
Deers roam freely here and are friendly when they know you have a treat for them. But watch out, they can get aggressive if they smell food and you aren't sharing!
Spend some time here as the architecture of this place is magnificent. Please check travelogue for more pix.
Entrance fee : US$4.24 per person
The 400 yen entrance fee to Todai-ji is well worth it. The Great Buddah statue is awesome and there are many other statues of interest. Watch out for a small hole in the base of one of the structures wooden pillars - you will deserve the good luck that comes with crawling through it, if you manage to squeeze through that space!
Todai-ji is open until 4.30 in the winter and 5.30 in the Summer. tour guides using megaphones can be a real pain in the neck in here - I recommend going later in the afternoon to stand the best chance of avoiding them.