My sightseeing in Nara began at Kofukuji Temple. In 2017 this Buddhist temple was the final spot I visited on my way back to Nara Station, so I figured that in 2019 it would be fitting to start my day here. Kofukuji was moved to Nara in 710 (it had previously been located in a different town) and was the family temple of the powerful Fujiwara clan.
Around Kofukuji’s main hall are several other temple buildings, including a pair of octagonal halls and a five-story pagoda. Although it doesn’t look that big in the photo above, the five-story pagoda at Kofukuji is actually the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan. At its peak, Kofukuji covered a larger area than it does today and had about 150 buildings in total, however repeated fires and warfare destroyed many temple structures.
The highlight of Kofukuji is the main hall, known as the Central Golden Hall. About 300 years ago a fire gutted the Central Golden Hall but in 2018 reconstruction work was finally finished. Today’s structure is meant to be an exact match to the original and houses a large Buddha statue.
Photography is forbidden inside the Central Golden Hall, but I was able to get a photo of the Buddha by standing back a short distance and zooming in.