Hasedera Temple (Nara) 長谷寺
A training ground for monks on the mountaintop
Hasedera Temple is a sprawling complex located to the southeast of Nara City . The temple buildings are on the side of a mountain, with the main hall at the top.
How to Get There
Hasedera Temple is 15 minutes on foot from Kintetsu Hasederamae Station.
The ancient origins of twin temples
This temple was first built in 686, during the arrival of Buddhism in Japan. At that time, a bronze plaque, brought from mainland Asia and bearing the image of a tower, was enshrined here.
Forty years later an eleven-faced statue of Kannon, goddess of mercy, was carved from a sacred tree and also enshrined. The priest who carved it made a second, identical statue and cast it into the ocean. It washed up in Kamakura . This is why there is a second temple of the same name located there.
Hasedera Temple is still used as a training ground, with living quarters and library buildings in use by monks.
A covered staircase leads to panoramic views
Climb the famous stairs of Hasedera Temple up 400 steps to the main hall. These stairs go on for nearly 200 meters. The roof offers protection from the weather while open pillar construction allows for fantastic views of the mountainside. In spring, blooming peonies line this staircase, making for a magical ascent. The views are equally enjoyable in the fall when surrounded by the reds and golds of autumn foliage.
When you arrive at the top of the stairs, pay a visit to the main hall. The stage attached to it offers sweeping views of the valley beneath. The view is especially lovely in spring when the cherry trees blossom and, in the fall, when the leaves turn.