Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple (Juni-Shinsho,location,history)

Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, Juni-Shinsho

The information about Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple is presented here. Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) are enshrined around the main statue of Yakushi Nyorai. Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) are the followers of Yakushi Nyorai and are believed to protect the world of Yakushi Nyorai and those who believe in it. Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) are: Bazara-taisho, Anira-taisho, Haira-taisho, Bigyara-taisho, Makora-taisho, Kubira-taisho, Shotora-taisho, Shindara-taisho, Santera-taisho, Meikira-taisho, Antera-taisho, and Indera-taisho. Juni-Shinsho is said to have been created during the Nara period (710-794). However, Haira-taisho collapsed during the Ansei-no-Ojishin (Great Ansei Earthquake)) in 1855, and was rebuilt in 1931.

【Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 1352 Takahata-cho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Takahatacho bus stop (about 8 minutes on foot), Kintetsu Nara Station (about 30 minutes on foot), JR Nara Station (about 40 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 600 yen, High School and Junior High School Students 350 yen, Elementary School Students 150 yen

【Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple History】

Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple (新薬師寺) was founded in March 747 by Empress Komyo, the wife of the 45th Emperor Shomu, who created the statues of Shichibutsu Yakushi to cure her husband’s illness. In Kondo (Main Hall), which is about 60 meters from east to west, there are the statues of Shichibutsu Yakushi: Zenmyoshokichijoo Nyorai, Hogatsuchigonkoonjizaio Nyorai, Konjikihokomyogyojojuo Nyorai, Muusaishokichijoo Nyorai, Hokaunraion Nyorai, Hokaishoeyugejintsu Nyorai and Yakushiruriko Nyorai, and the statues of Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals), and the interior of Kondo is said to have a scene similar to the Jodo (Pure Land). Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, also known as “Koyaku-ji Temple”, “Kozen Yakushi-ji Temple”, was a branch temple of Todai-ji Temple. Emperor Shomu issued an imperial decree for the casting of Great Buddha (Daibutsu) in 743, the casting of Great Buddha (Daibutsu) began at Shigaraki-no-miya in Shigaraki-cho, Koka City, Shiga Prefecture. However, in 745, natural disasters such as earthquakes and forest fires were frequent, and the capital returned to Heijo-kyo and resumed the casting of Great Buddha (Daibutsu) at Todai-ji Temple, but Emperor Shomu was not in good health. It is said that in order for Emperor Shomu to recover from his illness, the temples in the Kinai region (Kinki area) were ordered to hold Yakushi Keka-hoyo, and it is said that the various countries were also ordered to create a statue of the Yakushi Nyorai. It is said that Kondo was completed in 756. Later, in addition to Kondo, Dan-in, Yakushi-Kekasho, Mandokoro, Onshitsu, Zobutsu-sho, To-to (East Pagoda) and Sai-to (West Pagoda) were built, and it is said that seven temple buildings were lined up. At its height, Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple had a temple area of four chos squares (about 440 square meters), and Kondo was located 150 meters to the west and slightly south of the present-day Hondo, on the grounds of the present-day Nara University of Education. In 2008, during excavations were conducted for the reconstruction of Nara University of Education, and the remains of a large building, believed to be Kondo of Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, were discovered on the campus of the university. In 780, Sai-to (West Pagoda) was destroyed by lightning, and it is said that Kondo and Kodo (lecture hall) were also burned. In December of the same year, the Dajokan-pu issued a budget for the repair of the temple buildings. It is said that in 792, 100 of the 1,000 houses of Todai-ji Temple were given to Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple for repair and reconstruction. In 863, Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, along with Enryaku-ji Temple in Kyoto, received new coins and iron. In August 962, Kondo and other buildings collapsed due to a storm. Later, Do (Hall), which was built at a higher elevation on the east side of the temple grounds, became Hondo (Main Hall). Incidentally, in the present Hondo, the statue of Yakushi Nyorai was created in the late Nara period (710-794) to early Heian period (794-1185), and the statues of Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) were created in the Nara period. It is said that the statues of Yakushi Nyorai and Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) were not originally housed in Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, but were moved from Iwabuchi-dera Temple, which was built at the foot of Mt. Takamado-yama. It is said that Shin-Yakushiji Temple began to decline around this time, and private houses were gradually built in the area where Kondo and other buildings had been constructed.
In 1180, temples and shrines such as Todai-ji Temple and Kofuku-ji Temple were burned down by Nanto-Yakiuchi (Burning of Nanto) by Taira no Shigehira, but Shin-Yakushiji Temple was spared from the burndown. During the Kamakura period (1185-1333), Myoe, the founder of Zhongxing of the Kegon sect, and Gedatsu temporarily entered Shin-Yakushiji Temple. Around this time, Jizodo, Shoro (bell tower), Nan-mon (gate), and To-mon (gate) were built. In 1602, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the 1st shogun of the Edo shogunate, donated 100 koku of land to Shin-Yakushiji Temple. In 1698, the main statue of Yakushi Nyorai and the statue of Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) were repaired with a donation from Keishoin, the mother of Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, the 5th shogun of the Edo shogunate. It is said that during the Edo period (1603-1867), Shin-Yakushiji Temple was crowded with worshippers as a kitosho.
*reference・・・Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple website

【Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Hondo (main hall, 本堂, National Treasure) is said to have been built in the Nara period (710-794). It is said that Hondo was once a do (hall) for practicing esoteric Buddhist practices. Hondo houses the main statue of Yakushi Nyorai in the center and the statue of Juni-Shinsho (Twelve Heavenly Generals) surrounding the main statue.
★Jizodo (地蔵堂, Important Cultural Property) was built in the Kamakura period (1185-1333). Jizodo houses the statue of Juichimen Kannon (Eleven-faced Kannon), Yakushi Nyorai, and Jizo Bosatsu. Jizodo is also called Kannondo because it houses the statue of Juichimen Kannon (Eleven-faced Kannon).
★Shoro (鐘楼, Important Cultural Property) is said to have been built in 1279. Shoro is hung with Bonsho (temple bell) cast in the Tenpyo period (710-794).
新薬師寺見どころ (Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Otaimatsu (おたいまつ) is held every year on April 8th. In Otaimatsu, people repent for their sins at the main statue of Yakushi Nyorai, and pray for peace under heaven. At Otaimatsu, ten dai-taimatsu (large torches), each about 7 meters long, and one kago-taimatsu (large torch) lead the monks to Hondo. In Hondo, Yakushi Nyorai is decorated with peach blossoms and nanten, countless tomyo (lanterns) are lit to invoke the gods of the nation, and shoya-hoyo (the first night’s memorial service) is held to pray for peace and tranquility in the land.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see hagi (ハギ) is from mid-September to mid-October. At Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, about 10 hagi of 3 to 4 species are planted, and they bloom with pretty flowers. About 300 hagi, including hagi that have been growing naturally for about 1,200 years, used to be distributed, but some of them were cut down under the Cultural Properties Protection Law.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

【Telephone (Please refrain from making phone calls.)】

Tel: +81-742-22-3736

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple is via Nara Park to Kasuga Taisha Shrine. Nara Park is home to more than 1,000 deer, and you may want to play with them. In addition to Honden, Kasuga Taisha also has a Wakamiya Shrine and other branch shrines, and it is recommended to visit them together.

【Remarks(access, parking, disclaimer, etc)】
If you plan to visit Shin-Yakushi-ji Temple, be sure to check the latest information.


  1. 柳生一刀石
  2. 若草山(Mt. Wakakusa-yama)
  3. 吉野山