A counterpart to Todaiji, Saidaiji Temple is known for its unique tea ceremony where worshippers lift giant teacups to their lips.
Saidaiji Temple is a 5-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.
A single ticket to the complex offers visitors the chance to experience many different halls. The main attraction is its life-sized wooden statue of Sakyamuni in the Main Hall, which dates back to 1249.
Every year the pilgrims that visit the shrine are treated to the Great Tea Ceremony.
During the ceremony, participants drink from tea cups that are 40 centimeters in diameter and weigh up to 7 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 first Grand Tea Ceremony is held in January. Additional ceremonies are held in both spring and fall.
The modern Treasure House contains art and instruments used in Buddhist religious rituals, all of which are priceless antiques.