Toudaiji /A temple of the unexpected, the Big Buddah, and the largest building in the world in Nara

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Located in the northern area of Nara Park, Toudaiji is full of facinating sights and stories.

Home to an interesting belief

Toudaiji, aka Great Eastern Temple, houses many Buddist statues. Some of the more famous statues is located in Daibutsuden, Big Buddan Hall. This is the world's largest builiding, that is at it's current size, two thirds the size of the original. One of Japan's largest bronze Buddah statuese is located here. Near this statue is a pillar with a hole in it. The belief is that if one can fit through that hole, he or she will be "grated enlightenment" when they reach the next life. Considered special, this hole holds its glory as it is the same size as the large Buddah's nostril.

Friendly gate greeters

At the enterance stands a large wooden gate with dangreous looking statues on either side. These statues as considered national treasures with the gate. Built to represent the Nio Gardian Kings, these statues are interesting to see guarding the gate to a temple. What's interesting about entering the temple is the furry greeters. Many deer wander over from the park to beg for some food. Shika senbei, special deer crackers, is that they are searching for.

Lots to do in the area

The temple is located in the northern portion of Nara Park. Within this park, there are many things to do. The largest attraction is UNESCO's World Heritage Site. Also called Deer Park for the 1,200 deer that roam freely, it is also home to some of the park's historic pieces. There are many other temples located there including Kasuga Taisha Shrine, which is the world's most famous Shinto shrines in Japan. Shinyakusiji Temple is designated as a national treasure for its many Buddist statues and the buildings dating about the same time of the statues. Sarusawa-ike Pond which is famous for its reflecting of the Kofukuji Temple's five story pagoda.

Access/ How to go to Toudaiji

Toudaiji is accessible from two different train stations, Kintetsu Nara station with a 30 minute walk or JR Narra Stationf with a 45 minute walk. It is also possible to take a bus from either station and get off at the Todaiji Daibutsuden stop and walk 5-10 minutes to the main building.

DATA

■Hours: 7:30~17:30 (Apr-Sept) ~17:00 (Oct) 8:00~16:30 (Nov-Feb)■Access: 406-1 Zōshi-chō, Nara, Nara Prefecture■Tell: 074-222-5511■URL: http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/rtg/pdf/pg-507.pdf

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