Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Restaurants
Shopping
Jobs
Friends
News
-
Essentials
-
Sightseeing
-
Accommodation
-
Transportation
-
Restaurants
-
Shopping
-
Budget Travel
-
Questions

Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Nara
Todaiji Temple 
# 2   of 16 most visited
sights in Nara

jump to:   access  -  admission  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  tours  -  links

Todaiji (東大寺, Tōdaiji, "Great Eastern Temple") is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple 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 the temple's influence on government affairs.

Todaiji's main hall, the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world's largest wooden building, despite the fact that the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple hall's size. The massive building houses one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas.

Big Buddha (Daibutsu) - his open hand alone is as tall as a human being

Several smaller Buddhist statues and models of the former and current buildings are also on display in the Daibutsuden Hall. Another popular attraction is a pillar with a hole in its base that is the same size as the Daibutsu's nostril. It is said that those who can squeeze through this opening will be granted enlightenment in their next life.

Along the approach to Todaiji stands the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce looking statues. Representing the Nio Guardian Kings, the statues are designated national treasures together with the gate itself. Temple visitors will also encounter some deer from the adjacent Nara Park, begging for shika senbei, special crackers for deer that are sold for around 150 yen.

Deer in front of the Nandaimon Gate

A new addition to the temple is the Todaiji Museum, which was opened to the public in 2011 just next to the Nandaimon Gate. Rotating exhibitions from the temple's large collection of religious art and cultural treasures, including large Buddhist statues, are held at the museum.

Todaiji's grounds are spacious and cover most of northern Nara Park, including a number of smaller buildings in the hills to the east of the main hall. These include Hokkedo (also known as Sangatsudo) and Nigatsudo. The Nigatsudo Hall offers nice views of the city from its balcony, and is the site of the spectacular Omizutori ceremonies, which are held annually March 1 through 14.

Todaiji Museum

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
Todaiji is located in the northern part of Nara Park. It is about a 30 minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or about a 45 minute walk from JR Nara Station. It can also be reached by bus from either station. Get off at Todaiji Daibutsuden from where it is a 5-10 minute walk to Todaiji's main building.

How to get to and around Nara

Hours and Fees
Daibutsuden Hall
Hours:8:00 to 16:30 (November to February)
8:00 to 17:00 (March)
7:30 to 17:30 (April to September)
7:30 to 17:00 (October)
Closed:No closing days
Admission:500 yen

Todaiji Museum
Hours:9:30 to closing time of Daibutsuden Hall (admission ends 30 minutes before closing)
Closed:Between exhibitions
Admission:500 yen (museum only), 800 yen (museum and Daibutsuden Hall)

Advertisement

Hotels and Ryokan
Nara is commonly visited on a day trip from Kyoto or Osaka, and only a few tourists overnight there. Indeed, the range of accommodation in Nara is rather limited, but there are a few options for those aiming to visit the city in more than a day trip. A location close to Nara Park is generally preferred.
Search Hotels
Sponsor Hotels
Asukaso
A fine ryokan with hot spring bath offering views of the famous five-story pagoda. Located in the heart of Nara town.
Recommended Hotels around Nara - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Asukaso
Centrally located ryokan with outdoor baths that view onto the pagoda of Kofukuji Temple.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Hotel Fujita Nara
Regular business hotel located halfway between JR Nara Station and Nara Park.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking
Nara Hotel
One of the oldest Western style hotels in Japan, located next to Nara Park.
Reserve through
Agoda or Booking

Tours and Packages
Nara Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Nara and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Todaiji Temple:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  best of the best  
User Rating (by 1399 users):
93/100
  highly recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 781):
21.  Ogimachi Village (Shirakawa-go)   94/100
22.  Takayama Festival (Takayama)   94/100
23.  Uji Tea (Uji)   94/100
24.  Cherry Blossoms (Kakunodate)   93/100
25.  Sefa Utaki (Okinawa Island)   93/100
26.  Todaiji Temple (Nara)   93/100
27.  Himeji Castle (Himeji)   93/100
28.  Climbing Mount Fuji (Mount Fuji)   93/100
29.  Hot Springs (Kinosaki)   93/100
30.  Monkey Park (Yamanouchi)   93/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
17.  Yoyogi Park (Tokyo)   2694
18.  Nara Park (Nara)   2673
19.  Osaka Castle (Osaka)   2661
20.  Peace Park (Hiroshima)   2655
21.  Imperial Palace (Tokyo)   2637
22.  Todaiji Temple (Nara)   2577
23.  Sensoji Temple (Tokyo)   2479
24.  Ginkakuji (Kyoto)   2414
25.  Nijo Castle (Kyoto)   2299
26.  Chinatown (Yokohama)   2234

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

Japanese Links
Todaiji
Official website.
Todaiji Museum
Official website.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages

News and Reports
April 16, 2012
Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
by schauwecker
December 1, 2011
Nara Autumn Color Report
by schauwecker
Nara Autumn Color Report
November 18, 2010
Nara Cherry Blossom Report
April 3, 2010
Yoshino Cherry Blossom Report
April 6, 2010
Nara Cherry Blossom Report
March 26, 2010
Wakakusa Yamayaki
January 23, 2010
Nara Autumn Color Report
November 23, 2009
More reports...

Related Questions
Onsen near Nara (Todaji Temple & Nara...
 3 reactions, last updated 3 days ago
Kintetsu rail pass
 2 reactions, last updated 14 days ago
Nara for 1/2 day or full day? October
 6 reactions, last updated 33 days ago
Nara shopping
 1 reaction, last updated 52 days ago
Horyuji and Nara in one day?
 1 reaction, last updated 53 days ago
Tofukuji (Nara) questions
 7 reactions, last updated 78 days ago
Nara park trees
 9 reactions, last updated 90 days ago
Day trip to Nara on a weekday or weekend?...
 5 reactions, last updated 109 days ago
Kasugayama forest Nara
 3 reactions, last updated 135 days ago
Taxi from Nara to Itami airport
 3 reactions, last updated 140 days ago
Kansai thru pass to nara park
 2 reactions, last updated 140 days ago
Nara and Horyuji
 1 reaction, last updated 160 days ago
Transportation around Nara
 7 reactions, last updated 163 days ago
Where are large supermarkets in Nara
 3 reactions, last updated 205 days ago
Nara Access Ticket by Nankai
 2 reactions, last updated 231 days ago
What to do when all lockers are full?
 7 reactions, last updated 245 days ago
Horyuji
 1 reaction, last updated 254 days ago
How to get to Nara from Nagoya?
 5 reactions, last updated 272 days ago
Staying in Nara, want to see Osaka and...
 2 reactions, last updated 297 days ago
How stroller friendly is a trip to Nara
 4 reactions, last updated 302 days ago

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: July 23, 2013
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - 広告について - advertising