Following an eye ailment that plagued Emperor Shomu, his wife Empress Komyo ordered Shinyakushiji Temple be built to pray for a cure.
A five-minute walk south of Nara Park .
Shinyakushiji Temple is approximately 15 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station or 25 minutes from Nara Station by foot.
For visitors who prefer not to walk, board one of the buses that frequently leave from both stations and get off at the Wariishicho bus stop.
The main statue in the temple is of Yakushi Nyorai, the Medicine Buddha. The figure is painstakingly carved from a single piece of wood and believed to have healing powers.
Around this Buddha are twelve Shinsho Ritsuzo statues, also known as the Twelve Heavenly Generals. Famous for the exquisite quality of their carving, these statues date back to the 8th century and are believed to be the oldest such pieces in Japan.
According to local legend, the area was once plagued by an oni, a type of ogre, who was ambushed by the belfry and chased away. Large scratch marks on the bell are said to be the ogre's claw marks.