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Words-and-Pictures: Nara's Toshodaiji

(as seen on October 10th, 2001, on the Yamato section of the Aki Meguri)

Note: Nara is in the heart of Old Yamato.  Toshodaiji is one of the many temples located on Nara's quieter west side.  It is between the Tomb of Emperor Suinin and Yakushiji.  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, read more about my Yamato experiences, or read about the entire Aki Meguri from the beginning.
Toshodaiji is one of the greats--or will be.  The main hall is under reconstruction, which is expected to be finished in 2009!  I have seen some of its treasures in Tokyo; it's common practice to tour a temple's holdings while the buildings are under repair.

Mainly I remember the statue of Saint Ganjin, or Kakai-Taishi, the founder of this temple.  It's one of the eeriest statues I've ever seen.  He was a blind Chinese priest invited to come here and teach Buddhist precepts; he died in 763.

Anyway, despite the repair work, the grounds are beautiful.  Here's a quick look.

The Nandai-mon or "Great Southern Gate."
The Kodo or "Lecture Hall."  Great statues inside.

The Honganden.  I have no idea what it means, but it sure is purdy, ain't it?
The Koro, or drum tower.  The lovely gray building behind it is the sheathing around the main hall.  You can watch the workman through windows in the front, as well as view a video with Computer Graphics of the finished product.

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