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Nara Feature 7: Yakushiji

Note: This Feature was made on October 10, 2001, as I visited the Yamato Area of old Japan. (MAP)


Yakushiji is one of the many temples located on Nara's quieter west side. It is between Toshodaiji and Horyuji. A walk down this road evokes the past in a way that few places can. You can read about my visit to Nara in my Logbook.

Here's the south gate. You can see the roof of the main hall, and the pagodas on either side.

The main hall was rebuilt in 1976. The pedestal of the main image is quite interesting. On its back are motifs from ancient Greece, Persia, India, and China. This despite the fact that it was created in the Hakuho Period (645-710).

The Lecture Hall is under reconstruction.

The East Pagoda dates back to the Hakuho Period, the only one of its kind in Japan. It escaped the fire in 1528 that destroyed the main hall and the West Pagoda.

The West Pagoda dates all the way back to 1980.

I mentioned "getting off on the wrong foot" at this temple. I came in at the north end--the back end--and was assessed a hefty 800 yen to get past the gate in this picture into an enclosure. Once inside, it was all new woodwork--and no pictures allowed. I was miffed.

So I snuck this shot of the little hall in the center of the walled compound. It wasn't until I walked south that I discovered that there was much, much more to this temple. Though it was by far the highest fee of the day, I'd have to say it was worth it.

Posted October 6, 2019

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