Nigatsu-do Temple

Attraction 406-1 Zoshicho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8211 Japan Published on: 29-06-2016

1 hours 30 mins
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
08:00 AM
09:30 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
0.00 USD

Nigatsu-do Temple is good for

Good for family with kids Family with kids Good
Good for senior Senior Good
Good for couple Couple Good
Good for solo Solo Good
Good for group Group Good
  • Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
Nigatsu-do is one of the halls of Todaiji Temple, which was designated a World Cultural Heritage site. It is also the building in the center with the triangular roof.

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Why Nigatsu-do Temple is special ?

Nigatsuo-do's history is as interesting as it is long. According to legend, the priest Jicchu saw the Buddhist deity Bosatsu practicing religious training in a waterfall's cave on a mountain in eastern Nara in approximately the year 750. Jicchu decided to build the original Nigatsu-do so that this training could be continued in the human world. Jicchu then performed a ceremony to which he invited 13,700 gods. One of the gods, named Onyu-myojin, was late to the ceremony. To apologize, he offered scented water from the Onyu River, and the water suddenly sprung up from where the god stood. This event marks the origin of Omizutori, the sacred "Water-Drawing" festival that has taken place annually since the year 752, and at Nigatsu-do since 772. As the climatic event of a two week festival of Shuni-e, Omizutori is when monks gather at the Wakasa Well, which is beneath Nigatsu-do. Despite it being a dry well, at 2:00am the monks are able to retrieve water from it by torchlight. Some of the water is distributed to the public, and it is said to have healing properties. In recent years, the Shini-e festival has taken place from March 1 to March 15.


What to explore at Nigatsu-do Temple?

The temple complex of Nigatsu-do is located within the Todaiji temple area in Nara. Further up the hill from the main halls of Todaiji, it is often missed by visitors. The main hall of the temple is a UNESCO Heritage Site, located high on the hillside with great views over Nara. Inside are several Buddhist images and statues. The main such statues are two original images of the Kannon, one larger and one smaller. These however are considered "secret" items and are not displayed to the public, despite their central role in the annual Mizutori festival.

The festival honors the locally important Bodhisattva over a two week period; its origins are said to come from an event which was held here for 13,700 Buddhist gods. One of these gods, as an offering due to his late arrival, caused water from the nearby river to spring up at this hillside location. As part of the ceremonies, monks will bring up water-said to have special healing powers- from a nearby cave, which is distributed to the local people. This ceremony usually takes place over the first two weeks in March each year.


How to get to Nigatsu-do Temple?

About 10 minutes from JR Nara station, about 4 minutes from Kintetsu Nara station.

Get off at Daibutsuden-Kasugataisha-mae or Todaiji-Daibutsuden stop.

If you walk from Kintetsu Nara station, it takes about 20 minutes.


Selling points

  • Worth a visit for sunset
  • Nice view of Nara City from this temple
  • Fantastic and peaceful temple
  • The deck has a good view of Nara
  • The highest hall above Todaiji
Ideal Nara Two-Day Itinerary

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2.0 days
158.10 USD
Total travel distance
Number of places
14 places




406-1 Zoshicho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8211 Japan

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Tips for you

  • The temple is beautiful with an impressive garden.
    What to see
  • There are many stone lanterns leading up the hill to the grounds.
    What to see
  • It has an excellent view over the city from the terrace.
  • The temple is just about 10min walk from to Todaiji Temple.
  • There is also a teahouse and souvenir shop nearby.
  • There are seats on the upper level to rest tired feet and a wide balcony to stand and enjoy the view of Nara.
  • You can also have a free cup of green tea in the temple or sit on the veranda and enjoy the tranquilly and splendid view.
    Things to do


TripAdvisor View more

It is a worth to climb up the path close from Todaji Temple. The temple is not congested by hordes of tourist; it is really peaceful and great place of worship. And as a bonus you have fantastic view of Nara. There is no entrance fee. You can also have a free cup of green tea in the temple or sit on the veranda and enjoy the tranquilly and splendid view.

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