Saidaiji Temple 西大寺
One of the seven great temples of Nara
A counterpart to Todaiji, Saidaiji Temple is known for its unique tea ceremony, where worshippers lift giant teacups to their lips.
- The Shakyamuni Buddha in the main hall and the fierce Aizen Myoo sculpture in the Aizen hall—available for public viewing for fixed periods in the winter and autumn (Jan 15 to Feb 4, and Oct 25 to Nov 15)
- The Ochamori tea ceremony, featuring a huge tea bowl; you may need some help lifting it
How to Get There
Saidaiji Temple is a five-minute walk from Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
From Kintetsu Nara Station, take the Kintetsu Line two stops to Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
From JR Nara Station, take bus number 12 or 14 to Yamato-Saidaiji Station.
Get your ticket and explore the four main halls
Visitors can get a single ticket at the general reception which gives access to the grounds and the different halls. The temple's main attraction is its life-sized wooden statue of Shakyamuni in the main hall, which dates back to 1249.
Drink from a giant cup
Three times a year, visitors to the temple are treated to the Great Tea Ceremony (Ochamori).
During the ceremony, participants drink from tea cups that are 40 centimeters in diameter and weigh up to seven kilograms. Many drinkers need assistance simply to raise the cup to their lips. The idea of the ceremony is to foster unity among guests.
The New Year's Ochamori is held on January 15, with additional ceremonies held in the spring and the fall (second saturday of April and second sunday of October).
The treasure house
The modern Treasure House contains art and instruments used in Buddhist religious rituals, all of which are priceless antiques. It is open during the following periods: Jan 15 to Feb 4, Apr 20 to May 10, and Oct 25 to Nov 15.
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.