December 29, 2013

Todaiji Daibutsuden

Todaiji, a sprawling temple complex located in Nara, around three hours away from Tokyo by bullet train. Its history is seen as one of the cornerstones of Japanese history. Built in the 8th century, a time of extreme disasters and epidemics, the then-Emperor Shomu ordered the construction of provincial temples throughout japan, and made Todaiji the head of all of them. 

 This is merely the gate leading to the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall). Quite incredibly, the Daibutsuden is the world's largest wooden construction.
Passing through the gates, looked over by a Nio Guardian King. Yes, that is a deer, and they will be featured in their own post.

The main hall has been rebuilt twice, but is still hundreds of years old.

The exterior of the Great Buddha Hall. The hallways extend from either direction of the main building, and wrap all around in a giant square. The hallways are closed to visitors.

A view of the hallway.

This bronze Daibutusu (Buddha) is one of Japan's largest and is 15 meters tall.

These etchings have been reproduced at the base of the Buddha.

This massive block was laid against one of the corners of the temple.

There was a line of schoolkids on a school outing waiting to crawl through the pillar.  It is said that those who can squeeze through this opening will be granted enlightenment in their next life.

This was outside the main building.

Even the gumball machines here are Buddhism-related.

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