Tōtō Tower, Saitō Tower, Kairō Cloister of Yakushiji Temple
(courtesy of General Incorporated Foundation Nara Visitors Bureau)


Hanaeshiki Ceremony of Yakushiji Temple
(courtesy of General Incorporated Foundation Nara Visitors Bureau)
(a picture taken by Shuzo Sawa)

Yakushiji Temple

This is a Buddhist temple in Nishinokyō-chō of Nara City that is Daihonzan (or the main temple) of a Buddhist sect called Hossōshū together with Kōfukuji Temple. It was written in “Nihonshoki” that Emperor Tenmu (? – 686 ) founded this temple in order to pray for his empress’s recovery from disease. At first, it was built in Fujiwara-kyō Capital (the Capital located in the area stretching between present day Kashihara City and Asuka Villege in Nara Prefecture), and then in 710 when the Capital was relocated to Heijō-kyō Capital, it was also relocated to the present day site. Thereafter, many buildings were lost due to the fire in 973 and the war between the Tsutsui and Ochi clans, warriors, in 1528. Currently, the only remaining building that was constructed in the Nara Period (710 – 794) is Tōtō Tower. Every year, in the period from March 25 through March 31, “Hanaeshiki,” a Buddhist ceremony, is held, which is famous for 10 kinds of solemn imitation flowers offered before the principle image. In 1998, it was registered as a World Heritage Site as part of the cultural heritage of ancient Nara.