An artistic structure built using the best techniques of the time
Appreciate the cultural heritage while thinking about the far distant past
The temple was founded by the Soga clan, who were powerful in the 6th and 7th centuries. It has especially high historic value even among the famous temples concentrated in the area. Many technical experts coming from Kudara (an ancient state in the Korean Peninsula) engaged in the design of the temple, employing the architectural techniques of the time. It is said that people engaged in the construction of the temple and their disciples fanned out across the country and established the foundation of Buddhist architecture in Japan.
Asuka Great Buddha, the main image of the temple enshrined in the main hall is a 4.85 m-tall gold-copper statue that is said to be the work of Kuratsukuri no Tori, a genius of Buddhist sculpture. Most of the statue was destroyed by repeated fires but a part of the face, left ear and three fingers of the right hand are from the original created in 606. The statue may be the oldest existing Buddha image with a known date in Japan. You can see this precious statue close up and are free to take photos.
The temple used to be a large complex with a five-story pagoda at its center, but today only the main hall and several buildings are left. The foundation stones before the lecture hall will make you imagine the past magnificence. Around midnight on New Year's Day, the temple's bell is struck 108 times while ginger tea and ema (wooden tablets on which to write your wishes) are distributed to worshippers.
Address: 682 Asuka, Takaichi-gun Asuka-mura, Nara
Hours open to visitors: 9:00-17:15 (Apr.-Sep.); 9:00-4:45 (Oct.-Mar.)
Admission Fee: 350 yen (adults); 250 yen (senior and junior-high students); 200 yen (elementary school students)
Directions: From Kashiwara Jingu-mae on various Kintetsu lines (one hour and 20 minutes from Shin-Osaka) take a Narakotsu Bus bound for Asuka Station/Okadera-mae via Asuka Daibutsu Mae and ride for 19 minutes; Asuka-dera is a short walk from Asuka Daibutsu-mae bus stop. (Car) 40 minutes from Tenri interchange on the Nishi Meihan Expressway (Car parking available).