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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Kofukuji Temple 興福寺

An ancient temple with the best Buddha statue collection in Japan

While most Japanese temples contain just a single nationally recognized treasure, Kofuku-ji contains four: a five-story pagoda, a three-story pagoda, the Hoku-endo, and the Tokon-do. In addition, it has received recognition by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage site.

Don't Miss

  • The second largest pagoda in Japan
  • See the cultural relics of the Fujiwara clan
  • The shika deer which roam free around Nara park

How to Get There

Nara Park is a short walking distance from the train station. Trains to Nara run regularly from Osaka and Kyoto, as well as other major destinations.

Kofukuji temple is an easy five-minute walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, or a 20-minute walk from JR Nara Station.

If you arrive at the JR station, there is a loop bus which will save you the walk to the park. The number 2 bus or any of the buses bound for Kasuga Taisha will stop at Kencho-mae bus stop, which is a short walk from the temple.

Long history

Kofuku-ji temple was founded in 669 by the powerful Fujiwara clan. In those days Kofuku-ji was known as Umayasaka-dera and was based in nearby Asuka. When the city of Nara was built, it was moved to Nara and renamed.

Well-worth preserving

Pagoda paradise

If you like pagodas, you will love Kofukuji temple. At 50 meters tall, the five-story pagoda is the second largest in Japan. The tallest pagoda can be found in neighboring Kyoto.

While this one may not be the tallest in the country, it makes up for it with impressive age, dating back to the 12th century.

The octagonal halls

Two of the curiousities of the site are the octagonal halls, Hoku-endo and Nan-endo, created in wood by Buddhist monks. Although the mound-like stupa typically have a smooth, round shape, the unusual shape of these halls has made them a popular part of the temple.

The East Golden Hall, Tokon-do, is the only one of three original golden halls that remain standing today. However, the main Central Golden Hall is currently undergoing a full scale reconstruction, and is scheduled for completion in 2018.

The statues

Kofuku-ji is filled with priceless relics from the days when Nara was the capital of Japan. Many of these are displayed in the Kokuhokan, the Kofukuji National Treasure Museum.

The statues are made from a variety of materials, such as the dry-lacquer Ashura statue, gilded wooden images of the bodhisattvas, the bronze head of the Medicine Buddha, as well as the golden Buddha.

The way that each of these ancient images was crafted using different tools and techniques is a fascinating reminder of how important religion was in ancient Nara. You can expect to spend a couple of hours at Kofuku-ji to see the magnificent architecture and the many treasures in the temple's collection.

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