Todaiji Temple is probably the most talked-about temple whenever someone mentions Nara. It’s hard to understand why so many people rave about it, but one step into the main hall and you’ll understand.
Getting to the temple is very easy from either the JR station or Kintetsu station – just take one of the buses gets to the temple. For those not on a tight schedule, you can even walk there.
For me, I had to take the long way, having to start off at Horyuji Temple on the other side of town. The good news is the bus has its terminal station at Horyuji and at Kasuga-taisha – just one stop after Todaiji; the bad news is that there’s only a bus every hour, and the trip itself takes an hour.
The temple complex is actually quite spread out. Most people who come here probably have their mind set on the main hall with the giant Buddha. Granted, it’s one of the most magnificent structure inside the complex, but by no means the only one.
The road leading up to the temple is populated by shops offering all kinds of treats and souvenirs. Like Nara Park, there are also vendors offering wafers for feeding the roaming fauns.
Visiting the Great Buddha Hall requires admission tickets, and the staff people remind you to have a bathroom break because there’s no restroom beyond the admission gates.
For those who wants to take pictures of the giant Buddha, be advised that tripods and monopods are not allowed inside the area. To make it worst, the hall is poorly lit, so you might have to set a high ISO value for even a slim chance at taking a photo.
For visitors that have time to spare, I would suggest a visit up to February Hall higher up on the hill. It’s a building of the temple which offers a great view of Nara. Even better – no admission ticket required!
- Getting there shouldn’t be a problem
- Impressive statues
- Great view of Nara from February Hall
- Huge temple complex; it’s easy to get lost – especially if you’re heading to some of the lesser known buildings
- Finding a restroom may be challenging at times
- No tripod + poor lighting inside the Giant Buddha Hall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.