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Savor The Stunning Scenery At Todai-ji's Nigatsudo!


Translated by Eri Sasaki

Written by FujimotoHiro


Nigatsudo is one of the temples that makes up the Todai-ji Temple complex in Nara, and offers an incredibly rare view of Nara from its position on the mountain. If you would like to escape to the past, then a trip here is a must.

Home to incredibly ancient temples and shrines, Nara is best known as being the oldest capital city of Japan still in existence and home to many of the UNESCO World Heritage sites found in Japan - in particular, Kasuga Taisha and Todai-ji Temple.

Full of historical atmosphere, there are many other temples and shrines to visit in this city as well, but today we would like to focus on Todai-ji Nigatsudo.

What is Nigatsudo?

Todaiji Nigatsudo is part of the temple complex at Todai-ji, and is located to the east of the Great Buddha Hall. Originally constructed in the 8th century, it was rebuilt in 1669 and has remained in more or less the same style since.

Every spring, a seasonal ritual symbolic of Nara takes place at this temple. This event, officially entitled ‘Shujikai’, involves making offerings of sacred water taken from the Wakasai well to the Goddess Kannon. For each night of this season, large torches line the road leading to this temple, enabling its practitioners, known as ‘rengyoshu’ to make their way in the dark.

Reaching Nigatsudo

In order to reach Nigatsudo you will need to climb a rather steep stairway, so please be careful and watch your step.

Upon reaching the top you will find a chozuya where you must cleanse your hands before entering the temple area. For more about the chozuya, please refer to: How to Properly Pray at a Temple.

The Best View in Nara

As a historical city, there aren’t that many tall buildings or towers in Nara, which makes it rather difficult to get a panoramic view of the town.

In its position halfway up the mountain, Nigatsudo offers a stunning view overlooking the whole Nara region. Admission to this temple is free as well, so you can easily stop by here and take in the views while visiting Nara.

A Place in Harmony with Nature

One added benefit of its location on the mountain is that, as you enjoy the stunning scenery around you, you can also take in the lovely sounds of nature as well.

In this area you can enjoy the sounds of the wind as it rustles through the trees, and sometimes even catch the songs of rare Japanese songbirds in the air around you too. Why not take a trip to Nigatsudo and enjoy the slow pace of life that only a history-rich city like Nara can provide.

To see more of Nigatsudo, Todai-ji Temple and the other wondrous places found in Nara, please take a look at the following articles: Nara Area Guide: Historical Spots, Access, Festivals, Souvenirs, Sightseeing In And Around Nara, The UNESCO World Heritage City, and 10 Places To Visit In Nara, The Ancient Capital Of Japan.


Address: Nara, Nara, Zoshicho 406-1
Hours: 8:00-16:30/17:00 (Nov-Feb/March), 7:30-17:00/17:30 (April-Oct/Sept)
Access: take the city loop bus to Daibutsuden Kasuga Taishamae stop and walk 5 minutes; 20 minute walk from Nara Station (JR Yamato and Kintetsu Nara lines)
Phone Number: +81(0)742-22-3386
Website: Nigatsudo

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.