Shinyakushiji Temple 新薬師寺
A temple for healing the sick just south of Nara Park
Following an eye ailment that plagued Emperor Shomu, his wife Empress Komyo ordered Shinyakushiji Temple be built to pray for a cure.
How to Get There
A five-minute walk south of Nara Park .
Shinyakushiji Temple is approximately 30 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station or 40 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.
A Buddha believed to heal the sick
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. They are the protective deities of the buddha of healing and the people who follow the buddha. 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.
A demon attack
There is a bell with scratch marks at Shinyakushiji that originally hung in the bell tower at Gangoji Temple. Local legends tell of a demon appearing nightly in the bell tower there around 572-585 CE and causing trouble. One evening, a young boy training at the temple hid in the bell tower ready to ambush the demon. When the demon appeared in the middle of the night, a great battle ensued. The scratches on the bell are said to be claw marks left on the bell during the fight.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.