Sunday, May 10, 2015

2015 Japan Cherry Blossom Trip 16: The Great Buddha of Nara, Todai-ji Temple

After feeding the deer, we continued our trip to Todai-ji Temple.

The street in front of Nandaimon (South Main Gate) of Todai-ji Temple. It's so crowded today.

"Todai-ji, the head temple of Kegon school"

Yoshiki River in front of Nandaimon

Other than tourists, the deer was still the most on this road. Droppings of deer were everywhere, so you would step on it if you were not careful. However, cleaners were here to sweep the droppings to the roadside.

Nandaimon of Todai-ji

Site of Tonan-in of Todai-ji

Tonan-in (South-East Temple) of Todai-ji was built by Shobo, a renowned monk of the school of practising Shingon sect and Sanron sect, in 875. It was named as Tonan-in because this sub-temple was located at the south-east side of Todai-ji.

This sub-temple became emperor's Gosho, or Imperial palace since the reign of Emperor Shirakawa (1073 - 1087). Therefore, it was also known as Nanto Gosho, or Imperial Palace at Southern Capital in Japanese. During early modern day, it served as Anzai-sho (Residential Palace) of Emperor Meiji (1868 - 1912). It was then renamed as Honbo of Todai-ji in 1875 Todai-ji Reform.

Kagami-ike (Mirror Lake)

Chu-mon (Middle Gate)

Daibutsu-den or Kon-do (Great Buddha Hall or Golden Hall)

Banners on Chu-mon

Tokairo (East Corridor)
Front side of Daibutsu-den

Todai-ji is the head temple of Kegon school. It is built in the reign of Emperor Shomu of Nara Era. It served as the central administrative temple for more than 60 provincial temples nationwide at that time.

Daibutsu-den (Kon-do) was burned down twice due to wars in ancient times. The current building was rebuilt in the early 18th century, which belongs to Edo period. The 14.7-meter bronze statue of Buddha, which is also known as Birushana-butsu (Vairocana), in Daibutsu-den is National Treasure of Japan currently.

Birushana-butsu (Vairocana), or simply as Daibutsu (the Great Buddha)

Kokuzo Bosatsu (Akasagarbha Bodhisattva)

Komoku-ten (Virupaksa, one of the Four Heavenly Kings)

Backside of the Great Buddha Statue

Tamono-ten (Vaisravana, one of the Four Heavenly Kings)

The pillar beside Tamon-ten statue, where there is a hole allowed people to climb through the pillar. The size of the hole is said to be the same size as one of the Daibutsu's nostrils and those who climbed through it will be blessed with enlightenment in their next life.

Nyoirin Kannon (Right)

View from Daibutsu-den, facing towards Chu-mon. Octagonal Lantern Tower (National Treasure) is at the center.

Tamukeyama Shrine. It's located at the east of Todai-ji, which is also a good place to see momiji (Japanese maple) in autumn.

Asoka Pillar (Three Lions Statue at left) and Sourin (the golden tower at right).

Asoka Pillar is a commemoration pillar built for Hanamatsuri Sensohoyo (花まつり千僧法要, a Buddhism ceremony held during Flower Festival) in April 1988. It was modeled on the top part of the Asuka Pillar at Sarnath, India, one of the four sacred sites of Buddhism.

On the other hand, Sourin is the vertical shaft which tops the Nanajyu-to (Seven-storied pagoda) of Todai-ji. It was exhibited in 1970 Osaka Expo.

Sakura trees at the east of Daibutsu-den

We went back to Nara station after visit Todai-ji. Later we headed to Osaka Castle. On the way of walking back, small shrines could be seen everywhere.

Hyoshi-jinjya (拍子神社), the last shrine of Kaisuga-taisha (春日大社)


Osaka Castle, the battlefield between Toyotomi and Tokugawa

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