Todaiji Temple

Attraction 406-1 Zoshicho Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8211 Japan Published on: 27-02-2016

1 hours 30 mins
08:00 AM - 04:30 PM
09:00 AM
10:30 AM
First-time visit
Must see
Temple & Monument
4.75 - 0.05 USD

Todaiji 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.
Todaiji Temple is a World Heritage Site that houses Japan's largest statue of Buddha. Todaiji Temple (Nara) is largest wooden building in the world.

Image copyrights belong to authors

Why Todaiji Temple is special ?

Todaiji (東大寺, Tōdaiji, "Great Eastern Temple") is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple was constructed in 752 as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan and grew so powerful that the capital was moved from Nara to Nagaoka in 784 in order to lower the temple's influence on government affairs.

Todaiji's main hall, the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world's largest wooden building, despite the fact that the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two thirds of the original temple hall's size. The massive building houses one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas.


What to explore at Todaiji Temple?

Nandaimon – Great Southern Gate

On the way to the temple you will pass through Nandaimon, which is an enormous gate containing two fierce looking Nio Guardians. Nio means Benevolent Kings, and these guardians are protectors against evil spirits. According to Japanese tradition, these guardians travelled with the historical Buddha to protect him.

The wooden guardians were carved by the sculptor Unkei, in the 13th century. They are considered to be some of the finest wooden statues in all of Japan. The statues along with the gate itself are designated national treasures.

You will also be greeted by the deer from nearby Nara Park on your approach to Todaiji. The deer are used to tourist and will often approach you looking for some shika senbei, which are special crackers made for the deer and sold nearby for 150 yen.

Daibutsuden Hall

Todaiji’s Daibutsuden Hall (Hall of the Great Buddha) is the largest wooden building in the world. It is truly impressive, but consider this. It is only two-thirds the size of the original! The current building dates from 1709 when it was rebuilt. The Daibutsu-den Hall contains The Daibutsu (Great Buddha), which is one of the largest bronze figures in the world. It was originally cast in 746, and the present statue was recast in the Edo period. It stands at just over 16m high and contains 437 tonnes of bronze and 130kg of gold.

As you circle the statue towards the back, you’ll see a wooden column with a hole through its base. The hole is exactly the same size as one of the Great Buddha’s nostrils. Legend says that anyone who can squeeze through the hole will be ensured of enlightenment in their next life.

Todaiji Temple Grounds and Gardens

The grounds at Todaiji Temple are spacious and cover most of the area north of Nara Park. The original complex also contained two 100 meter high pagodas, but these were destroyed by earthquakes.


How to get to Todaiji Temple?

Todaiji Temple is located in the north of Nara Park. It is around 30 mins on foot from Kintetsu Nara Station, or about a 45 minute walk from JR Nara Station. You can take a bus from either station and get off at the Todaiji Daibutsuden stop. It is around a 5-10 minute walk to the main building from the bus stop.


Selling points

  • The main building is very imposing
  • Amazing historical site
  • Worth the long walk
  • Awe inspiring with a beautiful history
  • A great looking temple
Ideal Nara Two-Day Itinerary

Are you planning a trip to Nara? Check out popular trips from our experts. Copy and make it to your own plan. Customize it Now!

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




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

Plan a trip to Nara based on your personalized interests.

Tips for you

  • You are allowed to take photographs in this temple.
  • You should wear comfortable foot gear as you will have to lots of walking.
    What to wear
  • There are English guide books at the front entrance, which is brilliant.
  • There are many huge statues in the main temple as well as in the entrance.
    What to see
  • There are lots of deer in the area outside the temple, especially leading up to the gate.
    What to see
  • Inside the Daibutsu temple, there is a hole in one of the wooden pillars.
    What to see
  • To the left and right of the giant buddha are statues of Wisdom and Knowledge.
    What to see
  • On the way into the Todaiji Temple, you will also walk pass the Nandaimon Gate with 2 status representing the Nio Guardian Kings.
    What to see


TripAdvisor View more

This is the temple that impresses from the minute you lay eyes on it - it's massive! The walk up is impressive. This temple is home to the largest Buddha statue in Japan. It too is impressive. You are allowed to take photographs in this temple. It is also massively crowded, but most temples in Japan are. Of course the unique feature here are all the deer roaming the grounds begging for the biscuit handouts from the tourists. This temple and grounds is a must see and a treasure in Nara!

FourSquare View more

most impressive temple I visited in Japan. it's also the largest wooden structure in the world.

0 Comment

Itineraries include Todaiji Temple

Scroll to top