Kofukuji Temple

Kofukuji Temple

The temple building was transferred from Kyoto to Nara in 710, and founded in the same year, which was also the same time the capital was established in Nara.  Kofukji was used as a family temple for the Fujiwara, who were the most powerful aristocratic clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. At the height of the Fujiwara power, the temple consisted of over 150 buildings, but due to power struggles throughout the years causing fires and destruction of most of the buildings. 

Central Golden Hall crop

Kofukuji’s main temple hall, the Central Golden Hall, was destroyed by fire roughly 300 years ago and was not rebuilt to its original size until only recently. It took many years to reconstruct, but the hall was reopened to the public in October 2018. The building is just magnificent and doesn’t look “new” at all, appearing totally authentic.   Also located not far from the Central Golden Hall is Kofukuji’s National Treasure Museum, which exhibits parts of the temple’s great art collection, are well as the three-faced, six armed Ashura Stature, which is one of the most celebrated Buddhist statues in Japan.  

Central Golden Hall_Us

Also situated in the eastern side Kofukuji’s grounds are a pair of interesting shaped Octagonal Halls, which both are said to originally date back to over a thousand years, with the present reconstructions being completed in 1210 and 1789. 

Replica Ice Cream Display

Once back at the hotel, and after a freshen up…we headed back out and came across a really nice restaurant for an evening meal.  The restaurant served a large range of meals and specialised in Okonomiyaki and Teppanyaki cuisine…and was certainly a great place to end the day! 

Please find our other Nara articles in the 'Nara' section of the website.

After walking around the Sagiike pond we then continued heading westly to the Kofukuji temple complex, taking about a 10 minutes’ walk. Alternatively, Kofukuji Temple can also be reached by the loop bus from Nara Station.

The Kofukuji Temple grounds were quite large and the majority if free to enter and walk around, there are three areas that require an entrance fee, which are the Central Golden Hall, the Eastern Golden Hall and Kofukuji’s National Treasure Museum.  As it was at the end of the day, we unfortunately didn’t have time to enter these areas and buildings, but they could still easily be viewed from the outside.

Kofukuji Temple_ Five Storied Pagoda

The temple showcases several buildings of great historic value, including two pagodas, a three storied and a five storied. The five storied pagoda was first built in 730, most recently rebuilt in 1426 and is a landmark and symbol of Nara. The pagoda stands at 50 meters high and is the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan, being only seven meters smaller that the five storied pagoda at Kyoto’s Toji Temple. Neither pagoda can be entered by the public. 

Central Golden Hall_Dear

After a full packed really enjoyable day, from Kofukuji we then made our way back to our hotel…but on the way we came across a Shotengai “street of stores” (similar to the one we mentioned in our Okayama article) and so had a wander in! We came across a really nice small café and ice cream restaurant, after looking at the display window, we decided to treat ourselves to a well-earned cappuccino and an ice cream! In Japan, a lot of restaurants and cafés have display food in their windows, which are basically plastic replicas of the real meal or food, which look 100% real! It’s something you get used to seeing, similar to all the vending machines on the streets dotted everywhere!

One of the evening meal dishes