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Toshodaiji (, Tōshōdaiji) was founded in the year 759 by Ganjin, a Chinese priest who was invited to Japan by the emperor in order to train priests and improve Japanese Buddhism. Ganjin's influence in the introduction of Buddhism to Japan was monumental, and his arrival and teaching at Toshodaiji (which roughly translates to "temple of the one invited from Tang China") were important stages in that process.

Toshodaiji's main hall (kondo) was re-opened in late 2009 after being renovated over a period of almost ten years, during which the building was dismantled and reconstructed. The temple's lecture hall (kodo) was originally an administrative building located in the Nara Imperial Palace and was later moved to Toshodaiji. Today, it is the only surviving building of the former palace.

The Miedo stores a famous wooden statue of Ganjin which is displayed to the public only once a year for a few days around June 6, the anniversary of Ganjin's death. On the occasion of the 1250th anniversary of Ganjin's death in 2013, a replica of the statue was created that is now on permanent display to the public.

There are a number of small paths on the temple grounds that cut through thick overhanging foliage. Ganjin's grave is located at the end of one of these paths, and the surrounding nature gives the area an atmosphere of serenity. The temple also has a large bell from the Heian period, a chapel, sleeping quarters once used by monks in training, and a treasure house.

Getting there and around

By train

The temple is located about 500 meters north of Nishinokyo Station, which is located just beside Yakushiji Temple. Nishinokyo Station 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 train ride takes about 15 minutes and costs 260 yen.

By bus

Bus number 72, 78 and 98 provide three connections per hour from Kintetsu Nara Station (20 minutes, 270 yen) and JR Nara Station (15 minutes, 270 yen) to Toshodaiji Temple. The closest bus stop to get off is Toshodaiji () right in front of the temple. Bus number 98 only stops at the Toshodaiji-higashiguchi bus stop (񎛓), a five minute walk away.

When returning to central Nara, buses do not serve the Toshodaiji bus stop. Instead, you can catch bus number 72, 77 and 97 from Toshodaiji-higashiguchi bus stop.

How to get to and around Nara

Hours and Fees

Hours

8:30 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)

Closed

No closing days

Admission

1000 yen

Hotels around Nara

Top rated in Nara
Budget:
    • Guest House Oku
      Budget-friendly
      A 5-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, Guest House Oku is located a 15-minute walk from JR Nara station. Guest House Oku features a total of 3 guest rooms and free WiFi throughout the property. All rooms come with air conditioning. A toilet and shower is available for guests. You will find luggage storage space at the property. Kofuku-ji is 900 metres from Guest House Oku, while Todaiji Temple is 1.4 km away. Kansai International Airport is a 95-minute limousine bus ride away.
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    • NARA Visitor Center and Inn
      Budget-friendly
      The Nara Visitor Center and Inn is situated in the heart of Nara, just a 3-minute walk from Kofuku-ji Temple and Naramachi. The Todai-ji Temple and Deer Park are a 10-minute stroll away, while Nara Station on the Kintetsu Line is a 7-minute walk. JR Nara Station is 14-minutes away on foot. All guest rooms feature air conditioning and heating, and are equipped with a fridge and flat-screen TV. Japanese samue nightwear are available to all staying guests. Some units come equipped with an en suite bathroom with a shower, while some Japanese-style rooms come with an en suite shower. Japanese-style rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. The property offers free WiFi access and a 24-hour front desk. Luggage storage is available. There is a public bath on site, where guests will find free toiletries and hairdryers. A coin launderette, a shared kitchen and free-use internet PCs are offered on site. The on-site tourist information desk offers information in English, Chinese and Korean. Services offered at the desk include transport and meal tickets at a discount, currency exchange, bike hire at a charge, cultural activities at an additional charge, such as Japanese calligraphy lessons, and tour arrangements. Some cultural activities such as origami folding are offered free of charge.
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    • Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park
      Budget-friendly
      Situated in Nara, near Nara Park, Kasuga Taisha and Kofuku-ji Temple, Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park features free WiFi. Each unit is fitted with air conditioning, private bathroom and a kitchen including a microwave, fridge, stovetop and a toaster. If you would like to discover the area, hiking is possible in the surroundings. Todai-ji Temple is 2.4 km from the lodge, while Heijo Palace Ruins is 6 km from the property. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 39 km from Mountain Home Lodge in Deer Park.
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    • Guesthouse Tamura
      Budget-friendly
      Renovating a Japanese-style private house with a 100-year history, Guesthouse Tamura offers an accommodation in Fushigazushi-cho, Nara. Kintetsu Nara Station is a 13-minute walk away, while Kasuga Taisha Shrine is a 20-minute stroll. Every room comes with a shared bathroom. Some rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) flooring and Japanese futon bedding. You will find luggage storage space at the property. Vegetarian meals can be offered upon request. Kofuku-ji is 8 minutes on foot from Guesthouse Tamura, while Nara Park is a 20-minute stroll away. Osaka Itami Airport is 38 km from the property.
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    • Guesthouse Naramachi
      Budget-friendly
      The 100-year old Guesthouse Naramachi offers simple Japanese-style accommodation just a 5-minute walk from JR Kyobate Train Station. The property is completely non-smoking. It offers massages, bicycle rental and free Wi-Fi throughout. The World Heritage registered Nara Park is a 10-minute walk away. Guests at Naramachi can choose a private room with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and Japanese futon beds. All rooms are air-conditioned, and bathrooms and toilets are shared. Bath towels, washclothes and Yukata robes can be rented. JR Nara Train Station is a 20-minute walk, and Kofuku-ji Temple is a pleasant 10-minute walk away through the traditional streets of Nara. Gangoji Temple and three public baths are available within a 5-minute walk. Various types of bicycles can be rented. A free-use kitchenette is provided, with a microwave, fridge and electric kettle. At time of booking, you must inform the hotel what time you plan to check in. If your check-in time changes, please update the hotel. Guests who require parking must inform the hotel at time of booking.
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    • Kotonoyado Musashino
      Luxury
      Kotono yado Musashino offers accommodation in Nara, and is located a 11-minute drive from Nara Station on the Kintetsu Nara Line. Free WiFi is provided throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. Every room includes a flat-screen TV. You will find a kettle in the room. Rooms include a shared bathroom. For your comfort, you will find slippers and a hair dryer. There is luggage storage space at the property. The ryokan also offers free use of bicycles. Kofuku-ji is 1.1 km from Musashino, while Kasuga Taisha is 300 metres from the property. The nearest airport is Osaka Itami Airport, 39 km from the property.
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    • Guest House En
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House En is set in Nara, within 2.5 km of Todai-ji Temple and 2.7 km of Kasuga Taisha. Featuring a shared lounge, the 2-star guest house has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi, each with a shared bathroom. The guest house features family rooms. Guest rooms in the guest house are equipped with a kettle. The units will provide guests with a microwave. Popular points of interest near Guest House En include Kofuku-ji Temple, Naramachi and Gangoji Temple. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 38 km from the accommodation.
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    • Hotel Rokune
      Mid-range
      Located in Nara, Hotel Rokune provides accommodation with private balconies. Around 1.4 km from Kofuku-ji Temple, the property is also 2.3 km away from Heijo Palace Ruins and offers free WiFi. The property is set 2.3 km from Todai-ji Temple and 2.5 km from Nara Park. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a microwave, a fridge, a kettle, a bidet, a hairdryer and a desk. At the hotel every room is equipped with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Hotel Rokune offers a terrace. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Naramachi, Gangoji Temple and Nara Prefectural Art Museum. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 36 km from Hotel Rokune.
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    • Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring
      Luxury
      Featuring natural hot spring baths on site, Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring is set in Nara, just a 3-minute walk from JR Nara Station. Free WiFi is available throughout the property, and private parking is available on site. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Kofuku-ji Temple is 15 minutes on foot. All rooms include a flat-screen TV and electric kettle in the room. Rooms have a private bathroom fitted with a bath or shower and bidet. For your comfort, you will find slippers, free toiletries and a hairdryer. Extras include a fridge and toothbrushes. There is a 24-hour front desk at the property. Free luggage storage service is provided. Todaiji Temple is 10 minutes by car from Onyado Nono Nara Natural Hot Spring, while Nara Park is a 20-minute stroll from the property. Osaka Itami Airport is 37 km away.
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    • Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or
      Mid-range
      Set in Nara, 1.5 km from Kofuku-ji Temple, Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or offers air-conditioned accommodation and a terrace. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk, a shared lounge and free WiFi. The hotel has family rooms. All guest rooms in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. All units will provide guests with a fridge. A continental breakfast is available every morning at Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Todai-ji Temple, Nara Prefectural Art Museum and Nara National Museum. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 37 km from Bakery Hotel Chateau D'or.
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