## The temple where Japan's Cinderella lived
Taimadera was the most important temple during the first efforts to spread Buddhism throughout Japan. The temple is also linked to one of the most beloved heroines in Japanese folklore, Princess Chujo.
Taimadera, located south of Nara, is accessible by train from Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara.
From Osaka Kintetsu Abenobashi Station, it takes 35 minutes on the Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line to Taimadera Station. From Kyoto Station, take the Kintetsu Line via Yamato-Saidaiji and Kashihara-jingu-mae to Taimadera Station. The journey takes just under two hours.
From Kintetsu Nara Station, take the Kintetsu Line via Yamato-Saidaiji, Kashihara-jingu-mae, and Shakudo Station to Taimadera Station. The journey takes about 45 minutes.
The temple is a short walk from Taimadera Station.
There is a 1911 short silent film based upon Chujo-hime's legend
Chujo-hime has made Taimadera popular with female worshippers, and her life is celebrated every May 14 with dancers dressed as Bodhisattvas
Taimadera is the only ancient temple in Japan to still have its original two pagodas, dating from around AD 710
Taimadera Temple is named after Taima no Kunimi, an imperial courtier who moved the temple to its present site from Osaka in 681, but it has a closer connection to the Prince Maroko. Maroko was the brother of the celebrated Prince Shotoku, who devised Japan's first constitution and united the country through Buddhism.
Maroko built Taimadera as the head temple of the newly established Hosso Sect, which can be traced to the great Chinese monk Xuanzang, whose perilous expedition to India to receive Buddhist teachings was immortalized in the much-loved novel Journey to the West.
The temple contains a remarkably intact embroidered mandala—a representation of the Buddhist cosmos—that is also a National Treasure. This mandala features in the tale of Princess Chujo, a semi-legendary figure nicknamed the “Cinderella of Japan.”
According to the story, Princess Chujo became a nun at Taimadera to escape the wrath of her stepmother, who sought to have her killed. While at the temple, Chujo wove the mandala in a single night using thread made from lotus root.
Wander to Sekko-ji Temple at the north end of Taimadera and its impressive gardens. It boasts 400 different varieties of flora and fauna, and during the flowering season from April to May, the area is packed with visitors and worshippers.
From Taimadera, you can visit nearby Mt. Katsuragi, which is a popular spot among hikers due to its many trails linking ancient shrines and temples and the ropeway line that lifts you to the summit.