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“Stop off at Toshodaiji Temple(one of others)on day walk from JR Nara”
Review of Toshodaiji Temple

Toshodaiji Temple
Ranked #4 of 185 things to do in Nara
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Sydney, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
64 reviews
34 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Stop off at Toshodaiji Temple(one of others)on day walk from JR Nara”
Reviewed 9 June 2014

Toshodaiji Temple is located in the south western outskirts of Nara where once it was in the centre of Nara, when it was the capital of Japan over 1200 years ago.

In 759 AD, on the invitation of the Emperor Shomu, the Buddhist monk, Ganjin, from Jiangyin, China, today known as Yangzhou, established the first temple in Japan devoted to Chinese Buddhist teachings.

The easiest way to get there is by bus(70 or 72) from JR Nara train station. Travel time is about 15 minutes, 250 yen. Get off at Toshodaiji bus stop, which is basically at the front Southern gate.
You can travel by train from Kintetsu Nara but involves change of trains at Yamato-Saidaiji to Kintetsu Kashihara Line then travel to Station Nishinokyo Station, which is located just beside Yakushiji Temple.

I actually walked from JR Nara via Tomb of The Emperor Suinin then onto Toshodaiji Temple then back to JR Nara station. The casual walk only took 4 hours with plenty of time at each site and a few stops on the way.

Once you arrive at Toshodaiji (Entry fee is 600 yen), you enter through the Nandai-mon (Southern Great Gate) and immediately view Kondo or “Golden Hall (Main Hall),” which is the greatest structure of the 8th century remaining in Japan today.

A pathway to the left takes you into the western section, where you will find an ordination platform. On right of Kondo is the Kodo Lecture Hall, which was moved to Toshodaiji from the Nara Imperial Palace, and is now the only surviving building of the former palace. Beside the Kodo, on the eastern side are two azekuras, or wooden repositories, one for the storage of precious sutras and the other for treasures.

Behind the Kondo, well back in the temple grounds is the Meay-do being an example of the housing and life style of the aristocrats around 1000 AD. Attached to the Meay-do is a special garden where you can view the Keika or Qiong-hua flower, from Yangzhou in China, which was presented to the temple in 1963, in commemoration of 1200 years of Ganjin's death. Apparently it is a symbol of transformation from late spring to early summer. The garden is only open to the public when the Keika is in bloom. I was lucky to visit the garden on the 24th April to see the Keika in full flower.

Small paths, with thick overhanging foliage, various link sites across the temple grounds. The temple also has a large bell from the Heian period that can be found along one of these pathways.

Wandering through the various tree lined pathways you can appreciate the tranquility that the surrounding nature would have inspired Ganjin and his devotees in the pursuit of their religious pursuits.

Ganjin's grave rests quietly in the North East corner of the temple site, at the end of a woody path, passing through a moss garden, within high Japanese maple and cypress pine trees, across a small tree lined pond, to a small unassuming burial mound. A temizuya, a customary water fountain, with ladles greet you to purify yourself before approaching Ganjin’s resting place.

As noted by other contributors, this is Toshodaiji Temple, not to be confused with the much larger Todaiji Temple, which is located on the eastern side of Nara, with its vendors, tourist crowds and deer. Unfortunately some of the posts to this site relate to Todaiji, not Toshodaiji, so please be aware of the difference.

Visited April 2014
Helpful?
5 Thank xlcapris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
1,996 reviews
1,772 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,665 helpful votes
“Outlying temple in West Nara near Horyuji”
Reviewed 26 May 2014

Some reviews have confused this temple with the large one in central Nara. This temple is 4km west of the town centre. Don't let the distance put you off, you can easily make a day of visiting here and other nearby temples, the outer ones are some of the best. Start your day furthest out at Horyuji temple (the oldest one of all), then bus it to Yakushiji Temple which is just 5 minutes walk from this one. Toshodaiji is in a lovely woodland setting with many buildings to explore amongst the trees. Built in 759 AD as a Buddhist training centre there is a huge main hall and very long lecture hall. Don't miss the moss garden and a small tomb right at the very back of the complex.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Jolyon67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Taipei, Taiwan
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“fascinating wood structure”
Reviewed 2 January 2014

Toshodaiji Temple just finished its restoration in 2010. Unlike other temples during this trip were under construction, the tranquility and wood sculptures brought another feeling for the trip.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Stephanie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elmore, Vermont
Level 5 Contributor
83 reviews
43 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Breathtaking”
Reviewed 12 September 2012

If possible, try to go with a guide who can explain the signifcance of some of the architecture and carvings. Certainly a popular stop for tourists and understandably why. I enjoyed my stay in Nara!

Visited July 2012
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1 Thank migrantnative
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Tokyo, Japan
Level 6 Contributor
123 reviews
84 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 326 helpful votes
“This is Toshodaiji, not Todaiji”
Reviewed 18 August 2012

Toshodaiji is a Buddhist temple in the western outskirts of present day Nara City (but in the central part of Nara when it was capital more than 12 centuries ago). The temple was founded by a Chinese Buddhist monk named Jianzhen (Ganjin, by Japanese pronunciation) during the Nara period in the year 759.

Please, fellow travelers, this temple is not Todaiji and it's not in Nara Park. The deer do not roam around it. This is Toshodaiji. Before posting reviews, do check how it's spelled.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
12 Thank Yobeekool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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