Japanese Language Blog

Explore Japan – Todaiji Temple in Nara City Japan Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Hi there!  Many of you out there might have heard about Nara city (nara-shi,奈良市) in Japan where you will find the Todaiji Temple(Todaiji, 東大寺). Todaiji Temple(Todaiji, 東大寺) is famous for the “Daibutsu(大仏) ” or “Great Buddha of Nara” Statue, which is considered as the largest seated Buddha Statue in Japan. (Daibutsu(大仏) is a Japanese word for large statue of Buddha.)The main worship hall is called as Daibutsu-den (大仏殿).  A few years ago, my family visited this temple.  For me, it was my third time visiting here, but for my husband and my boys, it was their first time.  They were amazed and mesmerized by its size of Daibutsu(大仏).

The Todaiji temple(Todaiji, 東大寺)was built in the Nara period (710-794 C.E) during the era of Emperor Shomu. The Daibutsuden(大仏殿)was originally completed in 751, and was larger than the current building. Daibutsuden(大仏殿) has been rebuilt twice due to fire damage. The current building was finished in 1709. It is 57 m long and 50 m wide. Even though the current building is only 2/3 of its original size, this Daibutsuden(大仏殿) is still stunning, and breathtaking.

In 743, Emperor Shōmu issued a law in which he stated that the people should become directly involved with the establishment of new Buddha temples throughout Japan. His belief was that it would inspire Buddha to protect his country from further disaster.  It is believed that 420,000 people contributed to the building of the Buddha and 2,600,000 worked to build it.

However, the Daibutsu(大仏) has been recast several times for many reasons, including earthquake damage. The current hands of the statue were made in the Momoyama(桃山) Period (1568–1615), and the head was made in the Edo(江戸)Period (1615–1867).

According to Wikipedia,

The temple gives the following dimensions for the Daibutsu(大仏):

  • Height: 14.98 m (49.1 ft)
  • Face: 5.33 m (17.5 ft)
  • Eyes: 1.02 m (3.3 ft)
  • Nose: 0.5 m (1.6 ft)
  • Ears: 2.54 m (8.3 ft)

The statue weighs 500 tonnes!

I found the informative Youtube video below.  Half way through the video, it starts the tour of the Todaiji Temple(Todaiji, 東大寺) and Daibutsu(大仏) with English narration.

Well,  hope you got to know a little about Todaiji Temple(Todaiji, 東大寺)  and its Daibutsu(大仏) in Nara city(奈良市) Japan.  For me, Todaiji Temple (Todaiji, 東大寺)in Nara city(Nara-shi, 奈良市) is definitely a place to visit if you are traveling to Japan. Nara(奈良) is a very historical city where you will find more shrines and temples throughout the city!




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About the Author: keiko

Born and raised in Japan. She currently lives in U.S. with her husband and two kids.


  1. Zach:

    I’m happy to see this blog is being revitalized! Thank you for posting, and keep it up!

    • keiko:

      @Zach Thank you Zach for your comment! Hope you will find my articles interesting going forward! 🙂

  2. Antique Buddhas:

    I believe it is also one of the oldest seated buddha statue in Japan.
    How far is the Todaji temple from the Tokyo city?
    Thank You

  3. Marc:

    Todai-ji is wonderful temple. Omamori (japanese charms) of Todai-ji you can buy on http://www.omamori.com … I love Japan! … I hope one day to get back on Japan

    • keiko:

      @Marc Hi Marc,

      Yes, Todai-ji is a great temple. It is breathtaking when you see it in person. Thanks for sharing the link for Omamori. I love collecting them from different temples. 🙂