|1 hours 30 mins|
|09:00 AM - 05:00 PM|
Temple & Monument
|5.50 - 6.00 USD|
Shinyakushiji Temple is good for
- Highly recommended by fellow travellers.
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Why Shinyakushiji Temple is special ?
Shin-Yakushi-ji was built in 747 by Empress Komyo, who was the wife of Emperor Shomu, so that she would be able to pray for a cure of the Emperors eye ailment. Along with Todai-ji, Shin-Yakushi-ji was one of the biggest temples of that time. According to records, this temple consisted of a large number of buildings, and had 1,000 priests. Soon after this, the temple was destroyed by fire, perhaps as a result of being struck by lightning, so all that remains is the present main hall. The building is designated a National Treasure. The To-mon ("East Gate") and Jizo-do have subsequently been rebuilt.Yakushi-Nyorai-zazo, a seated statue that measures nearly 2 m, is the focus of worship at the temple. This image is carved out of a single block of wood. Other than the eyes, eyebrows and lips, which are colored, nothing has been used to alter the wood. The figure is a leading example of Buddhist sculpture of the 9th century. Also noteworthy are the twelve Shinsho-ritsuzo statues that stand around the image of the Yakushi-Nyorai-zazo. These are believed to have been produced in the 8th century. The oldest of their kind in Japan, they are collectively designated a National Treasure.'
What to explore at Shinyakushiji Temple?
Inside the main hall there are life size statues of 12 guardian deities surrounding a two meter tall statue of a seated Yakushi Buddha, which are the temple's main objects of worship. The Yakushi statue is made of wood while the guardians are made of clay. Each guardian has a different character and possesses a different weapon, and visitors can spend quite a while admiring them. There are also a few small paths around the temple grounds.
How to get to Shinyakushiji Temple?
Shin-Yakushiji Temple is about five minutes by foot south of Nara Park. The temple is also a ten minute walk from the Warishicho bus stop, which can be reached on frequently departing Nara City Loop Buses and other buses from both JR Nara Station (10 minutes, 190 yen, platform 1) and Kintetsu Nara Station (5 minutes, 190 yen, platform 1).
- A small jewel
- Worth the walk
- A large complex of buildings
- Beautiful small paths
- One of the gods of Buddhism
Japan 〒630-8301 奈良県奈良市 高畑町１３５２
Tips for you
Shin Yakushiji is a small jewel. The Hon-dō, the principal image of Yakushi Nyorai and eleven statues of the Twelve Heavenly Generals have been designated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of the government of Japan as National Treasures. What is different here in this small quiet compound is at least two things -- the approachability of the statues and the ability to see the artfulness of their expressions close up. Especially if you are tired of very large temples and the inability to feel close up and personal with the statuary inside your usual shrine or temple, this is a fun place. One way to see this is to start your (half) day at Todaiji (the big Buddha), then turn up the hill to Nigatsu-do. Leave Nigatsu-do and walk south along the brow of the hill to Kasuga Shrine. Continue to walk along the brow of the hill until you reach a street on the south side of the Kasuga park. Turn right down the street and look for signs on the left to Shin Yakushiji, which will be up the hill to your left about a quarter mile. Closes at 17:00 so pace the hike so you are not late. I've been here on three different trips to the Kanto sightseeing, and will visit again on my next trip!