Yakushiji Temple

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Japanese script: 薬師寺
Area: Nara
Address: 457 Nishinokyō-chō, Nara, Nara Prefecture [map]
Phone: 0742-33-6001 0742-33-6001
Access: 2.3 km from Kōriyama Station Yamatoji Line (Q34)
2.8 km from Yamato-Saidaiji Station Kyoto Line (Kintetsu) (B26)
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Website: http://www.nara-yakushiji.com/

Strictly symmetrical and one of Japan’s oldest temples, Yakushiji was built in the 7th century in an effort to aid the revovery of Emperor Tenmu’s ailing wife.

The temple is one of the UNESCO World Heritage “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”. Central between two pagodas, the main hall was rebuilt in the 1970s following a fire and houses pieces of important Buddhist art. Only one building has survived the length of the temple’s years – the East Pagoda, which was built in 730. There is a more recent complex dedicated to the Chinese Monk Genjo-sanzo who’s teachings were highly influential on the Hosso-sect of Buddhism to which the temple is dedicated. Unfortunately, this area is not always open to the public.

Please note: the East Pagoda is currently undergoing renovation work which is not set to finish until June 2020 and will be covered in scaffolding until then.

Yakushiji Temple
Photo by Andreas used under CC