Toshodai-ji Temple (Kondo,location,history)

Toshodai-ji Temple, Kondo

The information about Toshodai-ji Temple is presented here. Toshodai-ji Temple was added to the list of World Heritage Sites in 1998 as a “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”. Toshodai-ji Temple is the main temple of the Ri-shu sect, one of the six sects of Nanto (Nara). The Ri-shu sect was founded by Ganjin, who came to Japan from To (China) in 753. The six sects of Nanto (Nara) are Sanron-shu, Jojitsu-shu, Hosso-shu, Kusha-shu, Kegon-shu, and Ri-shu.

【Toshodai-ji Temple Location Map & Directions】

Address: 13-46 Gojo-cho, Nara City, Nara Prefecture, Japan
Access (How to get there): Toshodaiji bus stop (about 1 minutes on foot), Kintetsu Nishinokyo Station (about 5 minutes on foot)

【Opening Hours & Closed (confirmation required)】

Opening Hours: 8:30-17:00 (Last entry at 16:30)
Closed: open year round

【Entrance Fees & Tickets (confirmation required)】

Individual: Adults 600 yen, High School and Junior High School Student 400 yen, Elementary School Student: 200 yen

【Toshodai-ji Temple History】

The site of Toshodai-ji Temple (唐招提寺) was built was the residence of Niitabe no Shinno, a prince of the 40th Emperor Tenmu. Niitabe no Shinno died in 735, and fragments of a relief Buddha statue, partially covered with gold leaf and lacquer, were unearthed from the remains of his residence. Toshodai-ji Temple was founded in 759 as a training dojo (center) for learning the Buddhist precepts by Ganjin, a monk who came from To (China), who was given the ruins of Niitabe no Shinno’s residence by the imperial court. The site of Niitabe no Shinno’s residence is said to have been four cho in size, while the area of Toshodai-ji Temple was about 255 meters from east to west and about 245 meters from north to south. Incidentally, Ganjin was asked to come to Japan by Eiei and Fusho, who had gone to To (China) as envoys in 742. After five failed attempts, Ganjin came to Japan in 753. During his fifth failed attempt, Ganjin lost his eyesight. After arriving in Japan, Ganjin spent five years at Todai-ji Temple, where he built kaidan in Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall) and gave the Bosatsu Precepts to monks from the 45th, Emperor Shomu. Toshodai-ji Temple was originally a private temple of Ganjin called “Toritsushodai (唐律招提)”, with only Kodo (lecture hall), Kyozo (sutra library) and Hozao (treasure room) converted from the site of Prince Shintabe’s residence. The name “Toritsushodai” means “a training dojo (center) for learning the Buddhist precepts. During the renovation of Heijo-kyu (palace) around 760, Higashi-Choshuden was moved to Toshodai-ji Temple and Kodo (lecture hall) was built. Kodo is said to be the only surviving structure of Heijo-kyu (palace). In the late Nara period (710-794), Nyoho, a disciple of Ganjin, built Kondo. According to dendrochronological dating, Kondo was built from a cypress tree that was cut down in 781. In the Nara period (710-794), Toshodai-ji Temple had Kodo, Kondo, Jikido, Kensakudo, three Hakakudo (octagonal hall), Sobo (monk’s cell), Shoshibo, etc. According to the “Nihon Kiryaku”, To-To (East Pagoda) was built in 810. After the mid-Heian period (710-794), when the Buddhist precepts were abolished, Toshodai-ji Temple declined, but by 1140, a complex including Kondo, Kodo, Hozo, Mieido, and Amidado had been built. In 1243, Kakujo founded Shari-e, and in the following year, 1244, he entered the temple to begin the rebuilding of Toshodai-ji Temple. Kakujo’s disciple Shogen repaired temple buildings, created Buddhist statues, and established Kaidan. During the Nanbokucho period (1337-1392), Toshodai-ji Temple suffered from military fires and the loss of much of its territory, leading to the temple’s decline. In the Edo period (1603-1868), Gojiin Ryuko Takamitsu Goshoin was supported by the fifth shogun of the Edo Shogunate, Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, and his mother, Keishoin, and together they repaired the temple complex. In 1698, Kaidan was revived. In 1802, an important temple buildings, such as To-To and Gojyu-no-to (five-story pagoda), was destroyed by fire. During the Edo period (1603-1868), Toshodai-ji Temple was often damaged by earthquakes and lightning fires. After the Meiji Restoration, the Shinto-Buddhist Separation Decree made Mizukagamiten Shrine independent.
*reference・・・Toshodai-ji Temple website

【Toshodai-ji Temple Highlights (May be undisclosed)】

★Kondo (Main Hall, 金堂, National Treasure) was built in the Nara period (710-794) by Nyoho, a disciple of Ganjin. Kondo is said to be the only Kondo that was originally built as a Kondo during the Nara period. Kondo houses the statue of Rushanabutsu (Buddha), Yakushi Nyorai, Senju Kannon, Bonten, Taishakuten, and Shitenno.
★Kodo (Lecture Hall, 講堂, National Treasure) is said to have been moved from Higashi-Choshuden and built during the renovation of Heijo-kyu (palace) around 760. Kodo is the place where monks study. Kodo housed the statue of Miroku Nyorai, Jikokuten, and Zochoten.
★Koro (鼓楼, National Treasure) was built in 1240. Koro houses Kinkisharito, which contains Bushari (Buddha’s ashes).
唐招提寺見どころ(Toshodai-ji Temple Highlights)

【Events (confirmation required)】

★Uchiwa-maki (うちわまき) is held every year on May 19th, the anniversary of Kakujo’s death. At Uchiwa-maki, more than 1,000 uchiwa (straw fans) are scattered at visitors to Shariden. Uchiwa are also said to have benefits such as warding off illness, amuletizing evil spirits, and safe childbirth.
★Jizo-bon (地蔵盆) is held every year on August 23th and 24th. At Jizo-bon, visitors pray for the healthy growth of their children to the statue of Jizo Bosatsu, said to have been created by Kobo Daishi Kukai, the founder of the Shingon sect.
★Kangetsu Sanbutsu-e (観月讃仏会) is held every year on the day of the Harvest Moon in mid-autumn. Kangetsu Sanbutsu-e is held in Kondo to celebrate the Harvest Moon with Ganjin. During Kangetsu Sanbutsu-e, the garden of Mieido, where the statue of Ganjin is housed, is specially opened to the public.

【Flower Calendar (cherry blossoms, etc )】

★The best time to see lotus blossoms (蓮) is from late June to mid-August. About 130 pots of about 50 species of lotus, including Toshodaiji lotus, Nara lotus, Ohga lotus and Nehru lotus, are placed in front of Kondo and in the normally inaccessible front yard of Honbo, blooming white or pale pink flowers.
★The best time to see the hagi (萩) is from early September to early October. Hagi are distributed throughout the precincts, and small blossoms of light red and white flowers bloom. Hagi grow in clusters around Kondo, and large hagi are planted in front of Mieido.
(The best time to see the plants depends on the climate of the year.)

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

Tel: +81-742-33-7900

【Recommended Walking Route】

The recommended walking route from Toshodai-ji Temple is to Yakushi-ji Temple. A 10-minute walk will take you to Yakushi-ji Temple, a world heritage site. There are not many sightseeing spots around Toshodai-ji Temple, so it is recommended to go to the nearest sightseeing spot and take a walk around it.

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


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