Yakushiji Temple

Yakushiji Temple: A World Heritage Site with Healing Powers


Yakushiji Temple is a renowned World Heritage site located on the outskirts of Nara, japan. Originally built near Kashihara in 680 by Emperor Tenmu, the temple was later relocated to its current location in Nishinokyo when the capital was moved to Nara and Heijo Palace was constructed. With its rich history and unique architectural features, Yakushiji Temple attracts visitors from all over the world. In this article, we will explore the temple’s origins, its significance as a healing sanctuary, and the stunning structures that make it a must-visit destination.

The Origins of Yakushiji Temple

Yakushiji Temple holds a significant place in Japanese history. It was constructed by Emperor Tenmu as a prayer for the speedy recovery of his wife, who had fallen ill. The emperor sought solace in the teachings of Buddhism and believed that building a temple dedicated to the healing Buddha, Yakushi Nyorai, would bring about the restoration of his wife’s health.

The Medicine Buddha and His Healing Powers

Inside Yakushiji Temple, visitors can find a statue of Yakushi Nyorai, also known as the Medicine Buddha. This iconic figure represents the Buddha’s ability to heal the suffering and illnesses of sentient beings. The statue, dating back to 680, is one of the oldest Buddhist icons in Japan and holds great cultural and religious significance.

The temple complex itself is named after the Medicine Buddha and features a magnificent Kondo hall and a pagoda called ‘ryuuguu-zukuri’ or dragon palace style. These structures showcase the architectural prowess of the time and are a sight to behold for visitors.

The Illusion of the Three-Storied Pagoda

One of the most intriguing features of Yakushiji Temple is its pagoda. While it appears to be a six-storied pagoda at first glance, it is, in fact, a three-storied pagoda with decorative roofs between each story. The overlapping of these small and large roofs creates an optical illusion, giving the impression of a larger pagoda. This architectural marvel showcases the ingenuity of the craftsmen who built it and adds to the temple’s allure.

Visiting Yakushiji Temple

Getting to Yakushiji Temple is convenient, as it is only a short walk from Kintetsu Nishinokyo Station. The temple is easily accessible, making it an ideal destination for tourists looking to explore the cultural and historical landmarks of Nara.

Once inside the temple grounds, visitors can immerse themselves in its serene atmosphere and take in the beauty of the surroundings. The Kondo hall, with its intricate architecture and tranquil ambiance, provides a perfect place for meditation and reflection. The pagoda, with its illusionary design, is a popular spot for photography enthusiasts.

As Yakushiji Temple is a World Heritage site, visitors are advised to respect the rules and regulations set by the temple authorities. This includes being mindful of noise levels, refraining from touching the artifacts, and following any specific guidelines provided by the staff.


Yakushiji Temple stands as a testament to Japan’s rich cultural heritage and its deep-rooted connection to Buddhism. With its origins dating back to the 7th century, the temple holds immense historical and religious significance. The presence of the Medicine Buddha statue and the unique architectural features, such as the illusionary pagoda, make Yakushiji Temple a must-visit destination for those seeking spiritual solace and cultural enlightenment.

Visiting Yakushiji Temple allows visitors to experience the healing powers associated with the Medicine Buddha and immerse themselves in the peaceful ambiance of the temple grounds. As a World Heritage site, Yakushiji Temple holds a special place in the hearts of the Japanese people and offers a glimpse into the country’s ancient past.

Whether you are a history enthusiast, a spiritual seeker, or simply a traveler interested in exploring Japan’s cultural treasures, Yakushiji Temple is a destination that should not be missed. Plan your visit to this remarkable temple and discover the healing powers it has to offer.

Address And Maps Location:

457 Nishinokyo-cho, Nara-shi, Nara-ken

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