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Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Kansai - Nara
Yakushiji Temple 
# 8   of 16 most visited
sights in Nara

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

Yakushiji was constructed by Emperor Tenmu in the late 7th century for the recovery of the emperor's sick wife. One of Japan's oldest temples, Yakushiji has a strictly symmetric layout, with the main and lecture halls standing on a central axis, flanked by two pagodas.

The main hall was rebuilt in the 1970s after being destroyed by fire, and houses a Yakushi trinity, a masterpiece of Japanese Buddhist art. The East Pagoda is the temple's only structure to have survived the many fires and dates from 730. It appears to have six stories, but is in fact three storied, like the West Pagoda.

Construction Notice: The East Pagoda of Yakushiji is undergoing major renovation works over a time period of almost ten years (until 2019), during which the pagoda is covered up by scaffolding. The other buildings are unaffected and still make a worthwhile visit.

Genjo-sanzoin's Octagonal Hall

The Genjo-sanzoin Garan is a recently built complex located slightly north of the main complex area. Constructed in 1981, the complex is dedicated to the Chinese monk Genjo-sanzo, who lived in the 7th century and is famous for his extensive travels to India and Central Asia. Yakushiji is the head temple of the Hosso Sect of Japanese Buddhism, upon which Genjo-sanzo's teachings had a profound influence.

The main building at Genjo-sanzoin Garan is a central octagonal hall, in which some of Genjo-sanzo's remains are enshrined. Behind the octagonal hall is a building displaying works of Hirayama Ikuo, one of Japan's most celebrated painters who passed away in 2009. The paintings depict scenes of Genjo-sanzo's journeys, which have inspired Hirayama's work. The complex is closed about half the time.

Yakushiji and Wakakusayama in the distance

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
On April 1, 2014, the consumption tax increased from 5% to 8%, causing widespread changes to transportation fares. This page has not been updated yet, and some of the fees and fares in this section may not be up-to-date.

By train

The temple is located right beside Nishikyo Station, which can be reached from Kintetsu Nara Station by taking the Kintetsu Nara Line to Yamato-Saidaiji Station and transferring to the Kintetsu Kashihara Line. The entire trip takes about 25 minutes and costs 250 yen.

By bus

Buses number 70, 72 and 97 travel about three times an hour to the temple from JR Nara Station (15 minutes, 240 yen) and Kintetsu Nara Station (20 minutes, 240 yen). Buses 70 and 72 stop at Yakushiji bus stop when traveling to the temple, but stop at Yakushiji-higashiguchi bus stop when traveling in direction of central Nara. Bus 97 always stops at Yakushiji-higashiguchi bus stop.

How to get to and around Nara

Hours and Fees
Hours:8:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed:Main temple: No closing days
Genjo-sanzoin Garan is closed from mid January through February, from July to mid September (except Obon in mid August) and in December
Admission:800 yen (500 yen when Genjo-sanzoin Garan is closed)

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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.
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Asukaso
A fine ryokan with hot spring bath offering views of the famous five-story pagoda. Located in the heart of Nara town.
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Asukaso
Centrally located ryokan with outdoor baths that view onto the pagoda of Kofukuji Temple.
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Hotel Fujita Nara
Regular business hotel located halfway between JR Nara Station and Nara Park.
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Nara Hotel
One of the oldest Western style hotels in Japan, located next to Nara Park.
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Tours and Packages
Nara Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Nara and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Yakushiji Temple:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 249 users):
85/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 764):
199.  Muroji Temple (Asuka)   85/100
200.  Philosopher's Path (Kyoto)   85/100
201.  Sanzenin Temple (Kyoto)   85/100
202.  Senkaku Bay (Sado Island)   85/100
203.  Outdoor Activities (Minakami)   85/100
204.  Yakushiji Temple (Nara)   85/100
205.  Rikugien (Tokyo)   85/100
206.  Odaiba (Tokyo)   85/100
207.  Temple Walk (Onomichi)   85/100
208.  Chusonji Temple (Hiraizumi)   85/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 894):
121.  Kumamoto Castle (Kumamoto)   627
122.  Chinatown (Nagasaki)   625
123.  Meriken Park (Kobe)   615
124.  Naramachi (Nara)   615
125.  Higashiyama (Kyoto)   610
126.  Yakushiji Temple (Nara)   604
127.  Shinsekai (Osaka)   599
128.  Kenchoji Temple (Kamakura)   598
129.  Kanazawa Castle (Kanazawa)   595
130.  Ise Shrines (Ise Shima)   594

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Japanese Links
Yakushiji Temple
Official website.

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