Yakushiji Temple

Yakushiji Temple

薬師寺

Yakushiji Temple

薬師寺

Approaching from Nishinokyo Station about 20 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station, one is immediately struck by the scale of this temple complex, built in a Chinese style around 680. One of the most famous temples in Japan, its historical and architectural significance has earned it World Heritage status.

After choosing your ticket (there is an extra charge for the Genjo-sanzoin Garan across the road), you see two grand halls, two pagodas and covered cloisters, arranged in a grid. The Kondo or main hall is flanked by two gorgeous pagodas. The East Pagoda (currently under restoration until June, 2020) is the only surviving original 8th century structure. The main hall is comparable to a cathedral in size and impact, housing a Yakushi Nyorai (Buddha of healing) seated on a stand decorated with motifs from the Silk Road: grape vines from Greece, Persian lotus flowers, figures from India and a dragon, phoenix, tiger and tortoise, the Chinese gods said to rule over the four directions.

Originally built near Kashihara in 680 by Emperor Tenmu to pray for his wife's recovery from illness, the Emperor himself died before it was finished but his wife lived and succeeded him as Empress Jitou. When the capital was moved to Heijokyo, Yakushiji was also moved to its current location.

Beyond the main hall, the Toindo (East Hall) is worth seeing for its elegant Kannon figure, protected by warriors in dramatic poses. Across the road from the main temple area the Genjo-sanzoin Garan, holds the remains of the Chinese monk Genjo-sanzo. Fans of the 1970’s TV series Saiyuki (also known as Monkey), or the original novel by Wu Cheng'en, will be familiar with his travels along the Silk Road.

From Yakushiji Temple, it is just a few minutes walk to World Heritage Toshodaiji Temple, which has a very different atmosphere. Between the two temples there are several popular soba restaurants, making for a good half day outing.

Venue Details & Access Info
Address

457 Nishinokyocho, Nara

奈良市西ノ京町457

Access

From Kintetsu Nishinokyo Station:
- 2 minutes on foot from the station.

Related EventsIncense and Tea Ceremony for the Goddess Kichijoten
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Nara Tokae

Name/address in local language

  • 薬師寺 Yakushiji Temple
  • address 奈良市西ノ京町457 457 Nishinokyocho, Nara
  • Address
Opening Time & Admissions
Opening Hours

8:30 - 17:00 (last admission 16:30)

Closed on

Open all year round

Admission

Adults: ¥800
Teenagers: ¥500
Children: ¥200

When Genjosanjoingaran is open to public:
Adults: ¥1,100
Teenagers: ¥700
Children: ¥300

Payment

Cash only

Available Foreign Languages

No foreign language spoken (Japanese only)

Information in English

Contact Details
Tel

0742-33-6001

Fax

0742-33-6004

Website

http://www.nara-yakushiji.com/

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