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Todaiji Temple in Nara, UNESCO World Heritage Site ( 東大寺 )!

todaiji temple in winter
Nara Park is home to three of the six temples and shrines on UNESCO’s list, and Todaiji Temple ( 東大寺 ) is one of them. If you are wondering what the difference between a Temple and a Shrine is, the Shinto religion is practiced at a shrine while Buddhism is practiced at a temple.

japan nara park great eastern temple
Renowned for their Daibutsuden aka Big Buddha Hall ( 大仏殿 ), Todaiji Temple is one of Japan's most famous and historically significant temples and a landmark of Nara. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the " Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara ", together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara.

todaiji temple big buddha daibutsu
Cited as the world's largest wooden building, the massive building houses one of Japan's largest bronze statues of Buddha ( Daibutsu ). The Giant Buddha’s open hand alone is as tall as a man. The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas.

todaiji kokuzo bosatsu deity of wisdom memory
Statue of the Bodhisattva Kokuzo Bosatsu,
Deity of Wisdom and Memory

japan largest bronze statue buddha kannon bosatsu
Statue of Kannon Bosatsu,
Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds

Enter the Nandaimon Gate, a large wooden gate watched over by two fierce looking statues standing at 8.5 metre-tall ( 28 ft ). The Nio ( 仁王 ) aka Kongōrikishi ( 金剛力士 ) fierce and threatening appearance is said to ward off evil spirits and keep the temple grounds free of demons and thieves.

nara nandaimon statue guardian ungyo symbolising strength
Nandaimon Statue of the Guardian Ungyo,
Symbolizing Strength

todaiji nandaimon guardian agyo symbolising violence
Nandaimon Statue of the Guardian Agyo,
Symbolizing Violence
Known as Ungyo ( 吽形 ) or Naraen Kongo ( 那羅延金剛 ) with a closed mouth expression, and Agyo ( 阿形 ) or Misshaku Kongo ( 密迹金剛 ) with an open mouth, the statues representing the Nio Guardian Kings are designated national treasures together with the gate itself.

Admission to the Todaiji Temple is fee, but you need to pay 500 yen to go into Daibutsuden Hall and Todaiji Museum each.

nara souvenir shopping todaiji temple
nara souvenirs omamori lucky charms amulets todaiji temple
Before leaving the temple ground, tourists can purchase souvenirs like these pretty T-shirts, or Lucky Charms known as Omamori ( お守り ) such as Enmusubi Love Talisman ( 縁結び ), Katsumori Success Talisman ( 勝守 ), or the Gakugyou-Jouju Education Talisman ( 学業成就 ). Found in both shrines and temples in Japan, these amulets are to protect you from bad luck and bring you good luck.

Read that Nara is quietest in winter and traditionally, it is the off-season for Japanese tourists. My experience tells me otherwise. Other than the freaking cold temperature in February at -2°C in Nara, I saw the same amount of tourists there playing with deer and visiting the temples and shrines.

unesco world heritage site todaiji temple
Todaiji Temple in Winter

todaiji temple in spring cherry blossom
Todaiji Temple in Spring
It was an awesome experience both in Spring and Winter; of course Spring is a better time to visit with Nara Park bathing in pretty Cherry Blossoms. Do you like visiting shrines and temples?

cherry blossom yoshino yama viewpoint guide
Next stop, I shall be taking you guys to Yoshino, Japan's Most Famous Cherry Blossom Spot ( 吉野 )! Animal lovers, you can check out See Cherry Blossoms in Nara and Feed the Deer! ( 奈良公園の散り桜と鹿 )!


  1. Very old and historical temple. Amazing temple.

    Love the spring. Everything looks lovely.

  2. Another fun adventure! What a beautiful temple!

  3. What a fun park to go to.

  4. Hello Shirley!
    Wow!I love this temple!
    So beautiful post and photos!
    So wonderful that i shared it in my social medias!
    I love to visit such places!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, dear! Have a great week! xoxo

  5. A usual very interesting) Have a nice weekend)

  6. What an amazing temple! I hope to visit Todaiji Temple some day. That giant Buddha statue is so beautiful.

  7. Wow, this temple is so impressive!
    Kisses, Paola.


  8. Todaiji Temple looks so impressive and it must be beautiful no matter the season.

  9. Wonderful photos my dear, you saw a lot there!! Have a nice weekend :-)

  10. Wooow, such amazing and impressive temple!

  11. Amazing!

  12. The temple is magnificent! A must visit.

  13. Conquered. Must agree its worth the visit.

  14. Looks like an amazing place to visit.
    Have a happy weekend!

    Kathy's delight

  15. As usual very interesting) Thanks a lot for sharing)

  16. Japan is the only Asia country I never been to

  17. Amazing photos!

  18. Amazing post and great pictures!


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