Kofukuji Temple

Kofukuji Temple: A Glimpse into Ancient Japanese Culture


As we celebrate its 1,300th anniversary, Kofukuji Temple stands as a testament to the profound influence it has had on Japanese culture. Located in Nara, japan, this magnificent temple is home to four national treasure buildings: the five-story pagoda, the three-story pagoda, the Hokuendo, and the Tokondo. Each of these structures holds tremendous historical and cultural significance, making Kofukuji Temple a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring Japan’s rich heritage.

Don’t Miss

1. The Second Largest Pagoda in Japan

One of the highlights of Kofukuji Temple is its five-story pagoda, which stands as the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan. Rising to a height of 50.1 meters, this architectural marvel is a symbol of the ancient capital of Nara. Its grandeur and intricate design are a testament to the craftsmanship of the past. While the tallest five-story pagoda can be found in neighboring Kyoto, the one at Kofukuji Temple is equally impressive and offers visitors a unique glimpse into Japan’s architectural heritage.

2. Cultural Remains of the Fujiwara Clan

The Fujiwara clan, a powerful and aristocratic family, played a significant role in the history of Japan. Kofukuji Temple is closely associated with the Fujiwara clan, and visiting the temple allows you to appreciate the cultural remains of this influential family. From ancient artifacts to historical documents, Kofukuji Temple houses a treasure trove of valuable items that provide insights into the Fujiwara clan’s legacy.

3. The Roaming Deer of Nara Park

Nara Park, located in close proximity to Kofukuji Temple, is home to a population of friendly and free-roaming deer. These deer have become iconic symbols of Nara and are considered sacred in Japanese culture. Visitors to Kofukuji Temple can enjoy the unique experience of interacting with these gentle creatures, adding an extra layer of charm to their visit.

How to Get There

Nara Park is conveniently located within walking distance from the train station, making it easily accessible for visitors. Trains to Nara run regularly from Osaka and Kyoto, as well as other major destinations. If you arrive at JR Nara Station, there is a loop bus that can take you directly to the park, saving you the walk. The number 2 bus or any bus bound for Kasuga Taisha will stop at Kencho-mae bus stop, which is a short walk from Kofukuji Temple.

Long History

Kofukuji Temple has a long and fascinating history that dates back to its establishment in 669 by the Fujiwara family. Originally known as Umayasakadera Temple, it was moved to Nara when the capital was relocated to Heijo-kyo (present-day Nara), and renamed Kofukuji Temple. Over the centuries, the temple has witnessed the rise and fall of empires, serving as a spiritual and cultural center for the people of Japan.

Five-Story Pagoda

The five-story pagoda at Kofukuji Temple is a true marvel of ancient Japanese architecture. Standing at an impressive height of 50.1 meters, it is a testament to the skill and craftsmanship of the builders of the time. The pagoda has been rebuilt multiple times after being destroyed by fire, with the current structure dating back to around 1426. Its tall and elegant silhouette dominates the temple grounds, offering visitors a glimpse into the grandeur of Japan’s past.

The Octagonal Endo Halls

Among the many attractions at Kofukuji Temple, the octagonal halls stand out as unique and visually stunning structures. The Hokuendo, built in 721, is considered the most beautiful octagonal hall in Japan. Its elegant design and intricate details make it a must-see for architecture enthusiasts. The Nananendo, built approximately 100 years later, is another octagonal hall that showcases the evolution of architectural styles over time. The Chukondo, a central building of Kofukuji Temple, holds immense importance and was recently restored to its original construction style, adding to its historical significance.

The Statues

Kofukuji Temple is home to a vast collection of valuable artifacts and statues that provide a glimpse into Japan’s rich cultural heritage. The Kofukuji National Treasure Museum houses many of these treasures, including gilded images of Buddha, a dry-lacquered statue of Ashura, and the bronze head of Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Medicine. These masterpieces, along with other sculptures, paintings, and historical documents, offer visitors a unique opportunity to delve into the history and spirituality of Japan.


In conclusion, Kofukuji Temple is a remarkable testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage. With its stunning pagodas, beautiful octagonal halls, and valuable artifacts, the temple offers visitors a chance to step back in time and immerse themselves in the history of Japan. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an architecture lover, or simply someone seeking a serene and spiritual experience, Kofukuji Temple is a must-visit destination. As we celebrate its 1,300th anniversary, let us appreciate the profound influence this temple has had on Japanese culture and continue to cherish and preserve its legacy for future generations.

Address And Maps Location:

48 Noborioji-cho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken

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