Toshodaiji Temple

Attraction 13-46 Gojocho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8032 Japan Published on: 29-06-2016

1 hours 30 mins
08:30 AM - 05:00 PM
09:00 AM
10:30 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
5.50 - 6.00 USD

Toshodaiji 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.
Toshodaiji Temple (Nara) is a World Heritage Site which has many buildings dating back to 759 that are National Treasures.

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Why Toshodaiji Temple is special ?

Toshodai-ji came into being when the Buddhist monk Ganjin came to Japan from China and set up a platform for the ordination of monks, opening a school for studying Buddhism in 759. The auditorium was made by transferring part of the Heijo-kyu Palace in the city of Nara, which is the only building of Heijo-kyu Palace that remains to this day, and which is designated a National Treasure.The construction technique called entasis, in which the central part of the pillar is raised, characteristic of Greek and Roman construction, is used in the main hall. Three Buddhist statues, the seated figure of Rushana Buddha and the standing figures of Yakushi-Nyorai and Senju-Kannon in the main hall, are all designated National Treasures. The standing figure of Senju-Kannon actually has one thousand hands and is Japans oldest wooden Buddhist statue. The statue of Ganjin Osho in the shrine, in which the founder's image is installed, is said to be the crowning work of iconic sculpture.'


What to explore at Toshodaiji Temple?

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 small treasure house that charges a small entrance fee.


How to get to Toshodaiji Temple?

By train

The temple is located about 500 meters north of Nishinokyo Station, which is located just beside Yakushiji Temple. Nishikyo 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 25 minutes and costs 260 yen.

By bus

Buses number 70, 72 and 97 travel about three times per hour to the temple from JR Nara Station (15 minutes, 250 yen) and Kintetsu Nara Station (20 minutes, 250 yen). Buses 70 and 72 stop at Toshodaiji bus stop when traveling to the temple, but stop at Toshodaiji-higashiguchi bus stop when traveling in direction of central Nara. Bus 97 always stops at Toshodaiji-higashiguchi bus stop.


Selling points

  • Most holy and historical place in Nara
  • Peaceful Historical Temple
  • Imperial Nara Intact
  • Fascinating wood structure
  • Outlying temple in West Nara near Horyuji
Ideal Nara Two-Day Itinerary

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




13-46 Gojocho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8032 Japan

Plan a trip to Nara based on your personalized interests.

Tips for you

  • There are several other photogenic buildings, and peaceful gardens.
    What to see
  • This temple is 4km west of the town centre.
  • There's many stores in the street going there.
  • There is a museum outside you can skip.
    Things to do


TripAdvisor View more

We much preferred Toshodai-ji to Yakushi-ji. We took a bus to Yakushi-ji from Horyu-ji and then after visiting Yakushi-ji we walked to Toshodai-ji, an easy (though longer than we thought from the map) walk through a residential neighborhood. After paying our entry fee, we immediately noted the differences here from Yakushi-ji - here there are trees, plants and flowers - it was green with moss. The Kondo is a National Treasure. Indeed, pretty nearly every building here is a National Treasure, and those that aren't are Important Cultural Properties (no photography inside) In the rear of the main complex there was a path at the top of the rise which we happily walked along. It took us by some closed gates to mysterious buildings. Then there was a turn into a wooded path with nice moss covered with cherry blossom petals. The going got a bit rougher and untended until we came to a sort of pond or moat, curving in a great arc, really quite overgrown. Before us was a low wall, and a gigantic octagonal high mound of earth, a burial mound, the Kaizan Gobyo, or Founder's Shrine. We thoroughly enjoyed this temple but explored it far too cursorily. We shall probably have to come back some day. When you leave and go out through the Great Gate, hang a left. The tourist office woman in Horyu-ji gave us careful instructions to reach the nearest bus stop. It was another walk just a bit longer than expected, but we arrived in plenty of time for a bus back to the center of Nara. It's a standard bus and it was crowded. It took about twenty minutes to get to the bus stop at the JR station and our hotel. We got back to the hotel by about 16:40 - we left at 8:00, covering Horyu-ji, Yakushi-ji, and Toshodai-ji. One hell of an eight hour day!

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