Todai-ji – Buddhist temple complex in Nara

Todai-ji or the “Great Eastern Temple” is one of the most famous landmarks in Nara. It ranked highly on my list of “must visit” places in Japan and after being greeted on my arrival in Nara by tricky but cute deer I made my way quickly to Todaiji which was already a sight to behold before I even entered the grounds. The temple complex is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara.

Great Buddha Hall

Nandaimon gate was the first stop where I saw two not so friendly looking Nio Guardian Kings. As I walked along the path leading up the main temple I saw even more deer on the grounds of the temple and was really impressed with the gardens as I followed walked through the grounds snapping photos and getting lost in a sea of tourists on a beautiful September morning.

Hundreds of tourists and guess who was the only black guy?

I then came up on the Daibutsuden or the “Great Buddha Hall” which is the largest wooden building in the world and houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha. There are various pamphlets to read and staff explaining Buddhism, it’s history in Japan, Nara as Japan’s capital and more.

Buddha Bless You

I highly recommend a visit Nara, especially Todai-ji. Nara is often overshadowed by Kyoto but can be easily reached from Osaka via the JR Yamatoji Line or from Kyoto via the JR Nara Line both free for holders of a JR Pass and taking less than an hour. While in Nara ask about the one day bus pass that allows tourists to take the city buses in-between attractions as not everyone will be able to manage all the walking.

Hard to believe all the gates and buildings are made of wood

Below are a few more photos I took while visiting Todai-ji, feel free to ask any questions or leave a comment below.